New Delhi: India will go by the joint statement issued after Ufa talks between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif and remarks by Sartaj Aziz will not affect the road for engagement agreed to by the two leaders.
Downplaying comments by Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs yesterday, sources said Aziz did not say anything which affected the “actionable propositions” agreed upon during talks between Modi and Sharif in Ufa last week on the sidelines of the SCO summit and his remarks were ostensibly aimed at “domestic audience”.
They said India was looking forward for implementation of the decisions agreed upon in the meeting. Describing the joint statement as a “considered, honest, accurate and reasonable summary of the substance” of the talks, the sources said for India what Islamabad tells is important and not what they say to the domestic audience.
It was Modi's idea to have a joint media interaction by foreign secretaries of both the countries after the talks following which the two sides drafted the statement, the sources said.
Three days after talks between Modi and Sharif, Aziz had issued a statement yesterday in Islamabad in which he asked for “more evidence and information” from India on the Mumbai attack case and asserted that talks cannot take place without Kashmir being on the agenda.
Viewing that Aziz may have made the statement for the domestic audience, the source said it was a “kind of a mix and match exercise” as the comments included known Pakistani positions along with what Aziz claimed figured in talks between the two Prime Ministers at Ufa. “The fact that he (Aziz) is offering additional comments obviously speaks of a certain situation there,” said a source. They said one should not “pre-judge” possible outcome of a process which is yet to start.
Modi had raised the Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi issue as well as Mumbai attack trial case in the meeting, they said. They said the joint statement was like a summary of what was actually said and agreed upon at the meeting and it was prepared with great rapidity, adding that it was signed by the Pakistani side.
The sources said India was looking forward to talks between NSAs and DGMOs of the two countries.
On criticism of the government following comments by Aziz, the sources said one should not pass judgement on a process which has not started.
“They (Pakistan) did not do the first turn, how can they make a U-turn. Do not jump the gun,” said a source. Explaining the joint statement, they said it was not a statement where “you lay out all your hundred positions and they lay out their positions and then you trade.” Queried about criticism in Pakistan over Modi not stepping forward to receive Sharif at the meeting hall in Ufa, the sources said there was “no message” and called the observations “petty” and “ridiculous”.
They said as India sought the meeting, Modi was standing to receive Sharif and if the Pakistani Prime Minister had sought the meeting, then he would have waited for Modi. Asked whether Kashmir was discussed in the Modi-Sharif meeting, the sources indicated that all issues of mutual interest figured.
On whether India's expectations from the meeting were met, they said both sides came to it with positive intent and it took place in a very congenial atmosphere.
While the joint statement issued after the Sharif-Modi talks said the two sides will find ways and means to expedite the Mumbai trial, Aziz yesterday had indicated that it will take some time, putting the onus on India.
Asked about Pakistan's comment that the voice sample of Lakhvi is not likely to be provided to India as agreed in talks between the two Prime Ministers, the sources indicated it may figure in talks between NSAs of the two countries. They said trial of Lakhvi was raised forcefully and it was used as a metaphor indicating that India was serious about action against Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
The sources said India's position is that Pakistan has enough evidence to punish Lakhvi for the 26/11 attacks. Reacting sharply to comments by Aziz, Congress had yesterday mounted a sharp attack on Modi accusing him of adopting a “lopsided” policy towards Islamabad.