“It was not my intention in any way to hurt Zardari Sahib’s feelings,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on his virtual public snub to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.
Speaking to reporters accompanying him on his way back home from Italy,said he had not intended to say that in the presence of all the media.
“Let me say that what I had said to Zardari Sahib,I had not intended to say that in the presence of all the media. I simply forgot that the media were present there. It was not my intention in any way to hurt Zardari Sahib’s feelings,” he said in reply to a question.
Ahead of their meeting in Yekaterinburg in Russia last month,Singh had told Zardari in their first meeting after the chill brought about by the Mumbai terror strike that
“I am happy to meet you but my mandate is limited to telling you that the territory of Pakistan must not be allowed to be used for terrorism against India.”
He was replying to a question about his “unusual” step in Yekaterinburg when a reporter wanted to know whether such messages work on Pakistani leaders and whether it was business as usual in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister said “Well,there are difficulties but I have not given up.”
A few days after the incident,Zardari cancelled his trip to Sharm el sheik in Egypt where he was to meet Singh on the sidelines of the NAM early next week.
Pakistan government denied that the cancellation was due to the incident. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani,who will head the Pakistani delegation,will be meeting Singh now.