World | India

Salman Khurshid throws damper on India-Pakistan talks

Minister praises defence chief A.K. Antony’s handling of Kashmir soldiers’ shooting

  • IANS
  • Published: 16:36 August 8, 2013
  • Gulf News

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday said it was not an appropriate time to say anything about the September meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, scheduled on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meet.

“[I am] not in a position today to say anything because this is not the time or appropriate atmosphere in which we should be discussing talks. There will be lot of work necessary if we are to talk... but will it be conducive, we need to look at it,” Khurshid said.

“Let’s wait for the appropriate time. All the inputs have to be brought in, then we can take a call,” he said.

Khurshid also said the prime minister was not distancing himself from any issue.

“The Prime Minister’s Office or the prime minister will never distance from the prime minister’s team. We have a job to do and we do it under the supervision and overall leadership of the prime minister.

“We as members of the cabinet are doing things which are specifically assigned to us. Prime minister is the overall in-charge. Everything we do will finally go up to him and he will approve. If he thinks that whatever we do is wrong... he will tell us this is not acceptable. But we can’t sort of not shoulder the responsibility given to us and then leave it to the prime minister... it is not correct,” Khurshid told a news channel here.

He also added that Defence Minister A.K. Antony has done an honest job.

“He (Antony) has done an honest job. Parliament wanted defence minister’s statement too quickly and he gave a statement that was based on information which was available. The information which is available in two hours is different from the information which is available after 24 hours and 48 hours.”

Khurshid was responding after Antony made a fresh statement in parliament over the killing Tuesday of five Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir.

Antony said based on an on-the-spot assessment by Army Chief General Bikram Singh, it is now clear that the attack was carried out by Pakistani army regulars.

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