External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is unlikely to meet his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi though both of them are here for a conference on Afghanistan on Tuesday,days after their talks in Islamabad descended into acrimony.
An indication to this effect was given today by Krishna,who said “I do not know whether time will permit me to talk to him(Qureshi).”
Officials accompanying Krishna said the meeting was unlikely. The Pakistani side has not sought any meeting with Krishna nor has the Indian side shown any interest,they said.
Let us wait and watch,Indian officials said,adding the roadmap for talks with Pakistan would be decided “as we go along”.
Krishna and Qureshi are here to attend a one-day international conference on Afghanistan along with a host of other foreign leaders tomorrow. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is among the leaders.
Krishna said his invitation to Qureshi to visit India still stands,a day after the Pakistani minister said he would not visit India for a “leisure trip” but only for “result-oriented talks”.
Responding to Qureshi’s jibe,Krishna said no minister goes to another country for a walk,tour or sight-seeing. The ministers talk serious bilateral relationship,he said,adding for leisure he can go elsewhere.
Following a meeting with Qureshi on Thursday last,Krishna had announced that he had invited his Pakistani counterpart to visit India for the next round of parleys.
With Qureshi levelling accusations that India was not ready for constructive talks,officials made it clear that India will not get into a slanging match with Pakistan.
There was much acrimony between India and Pakistan after Qureshi stated that Krishna had repeatedly received instructions from New Delhi during their talks.
The comments had sparked a heated response from the Indian side. A day later,Pakistani premier Yousuf Raza Gilani and Qureshi spoke in conciliatory tone and said they would like continuation of bilateral talks.
Topping a series of flip-flops,Qureshi said he will not go to India for talks only for “a leisure trip” and backtracked on his earlier claim that Krishna received repeated calls from New Delhi taking instructions during their July 15 parleys.
While maintaining that the invitation to Qureshi still stands,Krishna said he was welcome to India whenever he wants to visit.
Krishna also made it clear there was no scope for any third party intervention in resolving the Kashmir dispute as the Indian position is that the “two countries are capable enough to talk to each other.”
The External Affairs Minister also said the two countries cannot “in one sitting exhaust all the subjects (bilateral issues) regardless of how complex those subjects are.”
On Pakistan and Afghanistan planning to talk to terror groups,Krishna said India does not have any problem if the Afghan Government led by Hamid Karzai wanted to talk to those outfits if they agree to disassociate themselves from all terrorist identified organisations.
Officials also denied that Qureshi talked to Krishna and expressed regret for his intemperate remarks against him.