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With Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month vowing to go the “extra mile” to make peace with India, Khurshid said Delhi would take him at his word. — File Photo
With Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month vowing to go the “extra mile” to make peace with India, Khurshid said Delhi would take him at his word. — File Photo

SYDNEY: India is prepared to give historic rival Pakistan “the benefit of the doubt” as the two countries strive for peace, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has said.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have since independence been at loggerheads over Kashmir, which is divided and administered separately by India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both.

India regularly accuses Pakistan's army of providing covering fire for armed rebels who cross the border and then mount attacks and in an interview with The Australian newspaper published Monday, Khurshid admitted the relationship was fraught.

“We talk to Pakistan periodically and in terms of personal gestures we receive great warmth,” he said.

“But the on-the-ground reality and the results of our meetings are very disappointing.”

However, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month vowing to go the “extra mile” to make peace with India, Khurshid said Delhi would take him at his word.

“Pakistan has a lot of very, very difficult issues to deal with at home,” he was quoted as saying. “Our view is that we should give them time, not at our cost, of course, but that we should give them the benefit of the doubt. When Mr Nawaz Sharif says he wants peace and good relations with India, we take him at his word.”

But with recent shootings at the border among the heaviest since a ceasefire agreement in 2003, Khurshid pointed out that Pakistan has not yet followed through on its promise of top-level military meetings to sort out better arrangements in Kashmir.

“If they can address the dismantling of the infrastructure of terrorism, that would be a good start,” he told the newspaper.

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Comments (26) Closed

Naveed Nov 11, 2013 07:08am

Mr. Khurshid, you have to play the role of a big brother and help resolve this domestic dispute. We the average Pakistani people love our Indian cousins and our common history, culture and many other things that are common among us, are not lost on us. I want to travel India without restrictions and the same for the Indians. I want Indian tea without it having go thru a 3rd country... No more wars, lets us be a family we were meant to be. Long live Pakistan and Indian.

Rauf Nov 11, 2013 07:54am

Its a big concession from India. Salman Khurshid knows very well that its not Nawaz but the army which decides about the foreign policy and security issues. Will there ever be peace between India and Pakistan, I do not think so. as long as the political institution remains weak and corrupt, decisions of foreign affairs and security will stay with the army and army has no interest in peace with India.

Asamed Nov 11, 2013 09:30am

But we don't want to give you benefit of doubt because your hands are red with blood of people of Pakistan. No peace until you believe in it.

fighting falcon Nov 11, 2013 11:32am

@Asamed: (Y)

vigilant Nov 11, 2013 12:39pm

How Pakistan & India can establish peace when both are working against each other interests. Only benefit of doubt is more military expenses & preparations as it is highly doubtful there will every be peace between india & Pakistan

Adhitya Nov 11, 2013 12:58pm

@Asamed What you say is an allegation that the world doesn't heed to as it is baseless. But everybody knows is that your national institutions and rebels are responsible for everything base, within and beyond your borders.

Sudhir Sundrani Nov 11, 2013 01:32pm

@Asamed: Yes don't give peace a chance. As if 66 years is not enough you can propagate investing 66 more. In the mean time world will progress north and we can be busy planning graves of each other :)

n andoria Nov 11, 2013 01:44pm

This person should be sent back to Pakistan.

Anil Nov 11, 2013 02:02pm

@Asamed: we also don't require it. It does't make any difference.

Neeraj Nov 11, 2013 01:55pm

@Asamed: No one is asking you the 'benefit of doubt' Pakistan is not in a position being a failed state it can only try to pull down other progressive countries.

Imran Nov 11, 2013 02:24pm

News like this is always welcome but it would be better if this was done discreetly and without making a big deal in the press. Experience has shown us that whenever a public announcement of peace is made, it is followed up by some sort of terrorist act or border skirmish designed to undo all the good. So everyone, please be vigilant for some bad news in the near future.

BKH Nov 11, 2013 03:11pm

No good benefit of doubts. Settle the issue once for all by agreeing the LoC as the boundary between the countries

Siddharth Nov 11, 2013 03:26pm

@Asamed: There is a saying in Punjabi....apni manji thalle daang Urdu its known as apne girebaan main jhaako. Need I say more.

Sameer Nov 11, 2013 04:56pm

@Asamed: We are not desperate to have peace with you. keep your peace with you.

Siddharth Nov 11, 2013 05:23pm

@Naveed: Naveed.....Good. Infact very good.

A Bose Nov 11, 2013 08:24pm

@Naveed: Well said, one of the sane voices I heard from the other side of the border. I always wanted to visit Swat Valley, a paradise on the Earth, and hope to do so in the near future. We are the same people with religious diversity due to invasions. We are the people of Indus civilization irrespective of our religion, lets use this common bond for a lasting peace.

Ebrahim Nov 11, 2013 09:16pm

@Naveed: Mr Naveed I do not trust Indian FM because he will make another statement soon contradicting first statement. These statements are to show world that they want peace and are giving concessions to Pakistan.

Masoud Nov 11, 2013 11:28pm

Talks towards peace is the only solution whether one likes it or not, besides India cannot afford any alternative, don't waste time

deo Nov 11, 2013 11:33pm

Good. Talks are the best way to resolve the outstanding issues between India and Pakistan. The new government in Pakistan deserves a chance. There is no reson for India to always accuse Pakistan of wrong doing. There are a large number of Pakistanies who want piece with India. On the other hand, there are a lot of Indian who are always accusing Pakistan of wrong doing.

ASHOK Nov 12, 2013 08:41am

@Naveed: Thanks Brother. I am touched with your comments.

Jashan Nov 12, 2013 01:49pm

@Naveed: RESPECT!!!

if even 30% people from both the countries think like this, we can settle this hatred stuff over night..Peace

Atif Nov 12, 2013 06:08pm

Pakistan army and government are back stabber. They just talk about peace to improve their image but they have no actual intention to do so.

Dr Saiyad Shanawaz Nov 12, 2013 09:58pm

"In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate" I want to greet Mr Khurshid for his words. I want to greet to all viewers who sent their comments in the support. I am observing since couple of decades that the people of both sides want brotherhood rather then friendship. when governments move towards this noble goal we feel great joy but those who are not in favour, they derail the process, however we are hopeful " ?? ????? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????? ?? ???? ??" ( you who believe, seek help through patience and prayer. Surely, Allah is with those who are patient.) we want to go hand in hand and oneday we will. Ameen

A K Tiwari Nov 13, 2013 11:44am

I don't think this will happen as the fella Salman Khurshid has a very poor public image in India. He is only known as Sonia's chocolate boy with no mass base. This white haired, good for nothing foreign minister will soon be shown the door.

jamla khabouri Nov 13, 2013 01:10pm

@deo: pakistan is blamed not only by INDIA but by entire world for its wrongdoings .. wake up !

a Nov 13, 2013 09:14pm

In order to give peace a chance, these regular false accusations from india should stop first and Kashmir should be given independence (from BOTH india and Pakistan).