New Delhi and Islamabad today traded diplomatic barbs over cricket with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna rejecting allegations on non-selection of Pakistani players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) while his Ministry asked Pakistan to introspect on the reasons for the strain in bilateral ties.
Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the manner in which Pakistani players had been insulted showed India was not serious about the peace process.
In response,Krishna said: The Government has nothing to do with IPL,on selection of players and various exercises that are connected with it. So Pakistan will have to draw a line between where the Government of India is connected and where Government of India is an actor.
The External Affairs Ministry rejected reports that teams didnt opt for Pakistani players during the IPL auction because of apprehension that they would be denied visas. It said: Pakistan should introspect on the reasons which have put a strain on relations between India and Pakistan,and have adversely impacted peace,stability and prosperity in the region.
Defence Minister A K Antony too said: Unless Government of Pakistan takes action against those involved in the heinous acts of 26/11… strong,convincing action to dismantle the terrorist outfits across the border,Indian people will be always impatient.
Asked to respond to the remark by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates that Indias patience will be limited were there to be further attacks such as 26/11,Antony said: I also told him that our people are becoming impatient. So you please advise Pakistan.
The remarks came a day after Pakistans state-run APP news agency quoted Rehman Malik as saying I want to make it clear that whether it is India or any other country in the world,their citizens would have to face (the) same behaviour as meted out to our people.
The angry exchange comes at a time when Foreign Ministers of both countries are due to attend a meeting in London next week on a new plan for Afghanistan.