On Board Special Aircraft: Amid growing clamour in India for strong action against Pakistan over the beheading of an Indian soldier, Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday made a strong pitch for continuing bilateral talks from a "position of dignity and rectitude".
"Neighbours cannot be wished away. Neighbours are a fact of life. You have to continue talking from a position of dignity and rectitude but you have to talk," Ansari told reporters in an interaction on board the special aircraft on his way to a four-day visit to Vietnam.
The former diplomat was replying to a question on what his advice would be to the government on dealing with the ensuing trouble in the Poonch sector between the Indian and Pakistan forces. "Definition of diplomacy is to continue negotiating at all times under all conditions. So obviously, there is work for diplomats to do. I am sure that is underway," he said.
Amid mounting tensions over a series of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), India on Monday lodged a strong protest with Pakistan at a flag meeting between the two Armies. Talking tough, Army Chief Bikram Singh asserted that India reserves the right to retaliate at the "time and place" of its choosing.
Two Indian soldiers were killed, one of them beheaded and the body of the other mutilated by Pakistani Army regulars on January 8 after they intruded into Indian territory along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
Ansari, however, said a country has no option but to deal with its neighbours. Asked about the differences between India and China over the South China Sea, Ansari said India's stand has been very clear.
"There is an international instrument, international norm about how sea boundaries have to be determined. If there are problems they have to be negotiated through peaceful means, whether on the issue of South China Sea or anywhere else," he said.