New Delhi: Ticking off Pakistan's Foreign Minister S M Qureshi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said agreements had been reached on a number of issues at the recent Indo-Pak talks but the way he handled the press conference later "could have been avoided".
Singh hoped that Qureshi will accept the invitation extended to him to visit India and the two countries would be able to "restore" the dialogue process "sooner or later" and give it a "proper sense of purpose".
In his first reaction after the July 5 foreign ministerial talks which ended in sharp differences, Singh said "I believe there was agreement on large number of issues having bearing on our relations. But the way the press conference was headed at the end of the visit by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan could, I think, have been avoided."
It detracted the "large elements of agreement" reached between the Foreign Ministers, he said in reply to a question at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Singh, who was asked whether he was disappointed with the failure of the talks between the two Foreign Ministers, said "I think, we are too close to events to pass a firm judgement on the outcome."
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had travelled to Islamabad for talks with Qureshi on July 15. At the press conference after the talks, Qureshi had equated the remarks of Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai on the links of ISI to the Mumbai terror attacks to the provocative speeches of Jamaat-ud-Dawa supremo Hafez Saeed.
India, UK to intensify war against terror
India and Britain vowed to further intensify cooperation in combatting terrorism. "There was agreement that terrorism constitutes the single biggest threat to the region and open pluralistic societies like ours.
We have agreed to further intensify cooperation in counter-terrorism," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters at the joint press conference with his British counterpart David Cameron who also stressed that they want to establish the strongest possible security partnership with India.
Pak should eliminate groups like LeT: Cameron
Cameron said Pakistan needs to do more to crackdown and eliminate terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operating from its territory.
"It is not acceptable, as I have said, that there should be within Pakistan existence of terror groups that cause terrorism not just within Pakistan, but also in other places in the world," said Cameron.
Cameron had said in Bangalore on Wednesday that Pakistan should stop "export of terror", which invited a furious reaction from Islamabad. On Thursday, he stood by those remarks, saying: "I believe in speaking clearly and plainly about such matters."
He said they would continue to work with Pakistan government to encourage them to crack down and take on the terror groups. Cameron specifically mentioned the LeT, which India accuses of being behind the 26/11 Mumbai attack, as being part of the terror groups operating in Pakistan.
He noted that the Britain will "continue to work with Pakistan that it does everything to crack down and eliminate groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Quetta Shura, Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban".
"We should be fair to the Pakistan government that it has taken up steps to combat terrorism," Cameron added, noting that terrorism also affected Pakistan. "But we need to go on so that we can reduce the threats of terrorism whether here in India, Afghanistan or in the streets of London."