Centre's volte-face gets Pakistan into action mode
By Devirupa Mitra | Published: 09th August 2013 10:08 AM |
Following the U-turn made by the Indian establishment, which blamed the Pakistani Army for the killing of its soldiers at the LoC, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday made conciliatory noises saying that measures should be initiated to strengthen the border ceasefire and that he looked forward to meeting his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New York.
After Union Defence Minister A K Antony squarely blamed the Pakistani Army in a new statement in Parliament, Sharif convened a meeting at the Foreign Office in Islamabad to take stock of the developments.
A statement issued after the meeting held on Thursday evening said Sharif “expressed his sadness over the recent incidents at the LoC, which has led to the flaring up of tensions between India and Pakistan and the loss of precious human lives”.
He did not directly allude to the killing of the Indian jawans, though. According to Sharif, both countries needed to take “effective steps to ensure and restore the ceasefire along the LoC”.
Sharif added that the existing military-to-military channels should be “more optimally utilised to prevent misunderstanding and escalation of the situation”.
“Pakistan, he (Sharif) said, is prepared to discuss with India steps for further strengthening of existing mechanisms both at the political and military levels,” the communique said.
Continuing in the same vein,, Sharif felt that the leadership of both the countries should “not allow the situation to drift and must take steps to improve the atmosphere by engaging constructively with a view to building trust and confidence”.
“The Prime Minister said that he was looking forward to his meeting with Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York,” it said.
And the release added that Sharif felt that the New York meeting would be used to “discuss steps to further build trust and consolidate this relationship”.
While Pakistan seems sure that the meeting in New York will go-ahead, Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid was cagey about confirming any such talks.
“Not in a position today (on Thursday) to say anything because this is not the time or appropriate atmosphere in which we should be discussing talks. There will be lot of work necessary if we are to talk but will it be conducive, we need to look at it,” Khurshid said.