Kolkata: Stressing that India-Pakistan peace was in the long-term national interest, union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor on Friday hoped the "dumbing down" of temperature by Islamabad over the past few days would enable a return to peace after the tension along the LoC.
Tension between India and Pakistan escalated following the brutal killing of two Indian troops by Pakistani troops near the Line of Control (LoC) January 8. One Indian soldier was beheaded and the head carried away by the raiders.
"Immediately it is not possible to take far-sighted decisions, because you have daily images of a mother wailing saying 'I want my son's head back'," Tharoor said.
Speaking at the Kolkata Literary Meet, the diplomat-turned-politician said going ahead with policies like visa liberalization in the prevailing situation would have meant militating against the public mood.
"And so our government had no real choice, but to put the brakes on.
"And yet, there has been a very significant dumbing down of the temperature by the Pakistani side which has enabled a period of calmness since that incident which we hope once again will enable us to return to the path of peace," he said, replying to a query.
Underscoring the need for peace between the neighbours, he said it was in national interest, as "our overriding national priority is growth and development".
"To do that you don't want hostile neighbours, the threat of eruption of conflict any time. So you have every interest in ensuring a peaceful atmosphere within which you can grow, your people can grow, and prosper."
With that objective, it was the responsibility of the government to pursue peace, keeping an eye on the bigger picture, he said.
"And when incidents like this happen, they temporarily put a brake on the process, even derailing the process slightly. But if your eyes are on the destination, you want to get back on track."