New Delhi: Union Home Secretary G K Pillai “would have been wiser” if he had not commented on Pakistan's involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks just before Indian diplomats were to visit Islamabad, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has said.
Krishna was speaking exclusively to CNN-IBN's Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai on Wednesday when he almost blamed Pillai for the diplomatic row in Pakistan last week.
“Well, in hindsight I think Mr Pillai could have waited till I came back to issue a statement. Perhaps it would have been wiser if that statement had not been made just on the eve of my visit,” said Krishna.
Pillai, in remarks published on July 14, was quoted as saying Pakistan's espionage agency ISI had controlled and coordinated the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at a joint press conference with Krishna in Islamabad on July 15 attacked Pillai for his comments. Krishna was criticized for not defending Pillai when Qureshi said the Indian official's statements were “uncalled for”.
Krishna told CNN-IBN the Home Secretary should not have made his comments just before talks with Pakistan.
“When two Foreign Ministers are meeting after the Mumbai attacks, there was a special significance of the meeting. There was a special connotation for that meeting. Everyone who is privy to whatever was happening in the government of India ought to have known the right kind of atmosphere from India's side should have been created for the talks to go in a normal manner but unfortunately this episode happened,” he said.
Krishna also warned Qureshi that his “civility” shouldn’t be mistaken as weakness. “I think we can put forward any contention, any position with the most forceful way but there has to be dignity, there has to be civility--and civility is certainly no weakness,” said Krishna.
The Minister wanted Pakistan to negotiate with India in the “spirit of Thimpu”, where the sixteenth SAARC summit was held in April 2010. “We should understand the spirit of Thimpu and the spirit of Thimpu to make an earnest effort to bring about a reconciliation between our two countries. I don't want that spirit to be eroded even by the remotest possible way,” he said.