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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — AFP Photo
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. — Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI, Sept 16: A wide gap between the perceptions of India’s home ministry and its foreign ministry about ties with Pakistan has left the country’s diplomats confounded during a meeting to improve the country's image abroad, which was addressed among others by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, news reports have said.

According to the Times of India, National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon briefed Indian diplomats on his take about the deep divide. Mr Menon was quoted by the newspaper as saying that while terrorism from Pakistan was a never-ending affair, India needed to engage with different quarters in Pakistan, even as New Delhi enhanced its own security proactively.

“The NSA’s assessment of Pakistan matched the home ministry’s briefing to Indian diplomats. But these were at variance with the ministry of external affairs take on India's ties with Pakistan,” The Times said.

Earlier in the three-day meeting, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna gave a fairly positive spin to the Pakistan relationship, describing it as a “democracy”.

Giving an account of his recent visit to Islamabad for talks with his counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, the minister’s briefing to the diplomats spoke of a new atmosphere in Pakistan and his confidence that the relationship was on the upswing. Pakistan, he said, wanted to take steps forward.

On the question if the powerful ISI and Pakistani Army were on the same page as the civilian government there, according to the Times version of the three-day meeting, Mr Krishna said he believed if the civilians were moving forward with India it would have the “blessings” of the military.

But these were very different from Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's assessment. In his speech to the diplomats, Mr Shinde spoke of the different ways in which Pakistan continued to foment terrorism inside India, the Times said.

These included infiltration, a growing fake Indian currency network, sleeper cells of terror groups, luring Indians to terror training camps to carry out terror attacks.

“Diplomats listening to the top levels of policymaking in the government would be forgiven for believing that the establishment was speaking in different voices,” the report said. “But though there is almost no one willing to bet that Pakistan had given up terrorism against India, there is an understanding that India needed to engage with some of the main players in Pakistan.”

Comments (15) Closed

Noor Sep 18, 2012 08:08am
so true both of us faced terror attacks and for that matter Pakistan lost more lives but its time now to move forward and put behind issues like samjhotta express or mumbai blasts and look towards future .. 1.3 billion people in neighboring nuclear countries cannot afford this ....
Jawwad Sep 18, 2012 03:32am
Guys! Let it go now. it's been over 65 years now. We will be doing our children disservice if we continue the status quo. These statements by statesmen are just knit picking. It's already enough.
Arun Sep 18, 2012 12:22am
The implication by your correspondent that India is attempting to improve relations with Pakistan in order to improve its image abroad is ridiculous. India's world image is great. The NATO trucks affair has shown the world how hard it is to work with Pakistan. The US will always push India in keeping with US national interests, and there are a few cold warriors who will try to gain favor from Pakistan at the cost of India. But India is a transparent democracy and will not be pushed around. Personally, I believe the ISI is still dominant so no meaningful concessions will come from Pakistan. It is likely that concessions will come from India, as India still suffers from the Prithviraj Chauhan problem.
Bufflo Sep 18, 2012 05:27am
Raja people like you should be tried under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
Feroze Sep 17, 2012 02:35pm
Well said Raja. I doubt if Pakistan can call any country as their true friend. The list of friends has diminished in the last three decades to an extent where Pakistan is left all alone.
Shakeel Sep 17, 2012 06:26am
Establishments in both countries do.t want to release the tension.sham on them they are thinking of their own motive.
Ali Sep 17, 2012 02:25pm
peace will come only if the sentiment of Indian public changes. A democratic ruler always listen to public opinion and Indian public opinion is very negative about Pak. Once the public opinion turns positive, peace will come to the region.
Raja Sep 17, 2012 12:10pm
India and Pakistan can never have a peaceful relationship. In fact Pakistan cannot have a proper relationship with any country in the world till it puts down its non state actors.
Mutahir Sep 17, 2012 02:05pm
I am inclined to agree with Shakeel to a large extent. But It is quite nice that Pakistan Army chief General Kiyani welcomed good ties with India. I have a strong believe that Both the countries now bury the hatchet and get united in order to defeat the common enemy.
P N Eswaran Sep 17, 2012 11:55am
India wants to be seen as improving relations with Pakistan. There is deep mistrust about Pakistan in the general public as well as administration. I wonder why the Indian Foreign Ministry wants to play this drama of engaging a limited ineffective constituency in Pakistan when it has more pressing agenda. this engagement can be left to the 'Wagha Wailers' led by Kuldip Nayyar are other such defunct people.
Harsh Sep 18, 2012 01:24pm
dattatray Sep 17, 2012 08:12pm
atleast we are trying what r u doing? how we can trust you ? for the hindus who were are and will dissappear from pakistan. or for terrorism in our country . jab daag lagta hai to use dhona chahiye iske liye khudke garebaan me zakna chahiye dusro par kichad uchalnese daag jata nahi"""""
atis Sep 17, 2012 12:30pm
Keeping alive terrorism brings business both in India and Pakistan.Freedom is a term for leaders to mention while sermoning people
Ash Sep 18, 2012 12:13pm
Saying and doing are two different things. We are ready to move forward. Bring the people involved in Mumbai to justice and we will move forward. Till then, we will discuss only on our terms. Trade is fine, because, it suits us. Rest we will discuss if Mumbai is solved.
h.mani Sep 17, 2012 02:14pm
Here the deal.Both India and Pakistan have agendas which are as divergent as the Hindu?Muslim divide,there was one side Abdul Kalam Azad on other side Mr Jinnah,there is this MMS and F.M. and on the other the public opinion and national security and home ministry.It is a log Jam,we are victim of our own policy of past,Pakistan has many sane thinkers but they really do not wield power at least not control over non state actors which come in many hue & color,in India,you can not blame them,burned once,twice shy,the saying goes,we forgot 1999 khandher sky jacking,ready to move forward,Mumbai happened,there is no one in Pakistan who can say this will never again happen,if any thing worse might happen,on Indian side no one can say either it is in past.That is our problem,we plod on,hoping for best with no solid reason to base our policy,just unfounded hope,that is why it is doomed to failure sooner than later,I'm usually sound as I have no favourite party who is my "MAIBAAP"