India disagrees with Miliband, says it’s closed chapter

January 21st, 2009 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) India Wednesday said it has conveyed through “proper diplomatic channels” its “differences” with Britain over British Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s remarks about Kashmir and terrorism even as it asked other countries to act against states which sponsor terrorism. Underscoring India’s anger at Pakistan’s failure to act against terrorists New Delhi blames for the Nov 26 Mumbai terrorist attacks, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee urged the international community to compel “recalcitrant states” to act.

“…If a state apparatus sponsors terrorism as an act of state policy, or a recalcitrant state refuses to recognise its international commitments and responsibilities on not allowing the use of (its) territory for terror activities, the problem becomes more complex and difficult,” Mukherjee said.

“It is high time the international community recognised that such recalcitrant states must be brought to discipline by resorting to various international mechanisms,” he told a regional security conference here Wednesday.

Mukherjee also clarified India’s position over Miliband’s remarks that suggested terrorism in the region was linked to the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.

“When the foreign secretary of the UK visited us he shared his perceptions about the situations, and I equally told him and all the interlocutors that this is your perception,” Mukherjee said.

“We do not share this perception,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the conference.

“In our normal diplomatic channel, what is proper and just, we have done it and now it is a closed chapter,” Mukherjee said in a bid to put the controversy to rest.

Mukherjee’s comments came amid media reports about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh writing to his British counterpart Gordon Brown expressing disappointment over Miliband’s comments.

The government, however, denied the reports. “No such letter was sent,” Deepak Sandhu, media adviser to the prime minister, told IANS.

Britain, too, denied any such letter was sent and went on a damage-control mode.

“There are two points to be made here which should not be confused. And the British government has repeatedly expressed its view that nothing can justify terrorism,” Dan Chugg, the spokesperson of the British high commission, told IANS.

However, Britain also feels that wherever conflicts exist it’s important that the people talk about how best these conflicts can be resolved, he added.

The spokesperson also sought to quell rumours about India cold-shouldering visiting British Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Peter Mandelson.

Alluding to reports that Mandelson was denied appointments with Manmohan Singh and Mukherjee, the spokesperson insisted that “Lord Mandelson had an extraordinarily successful visit”.

In an article published in The Guardian, a British daily, last week, Miliband had argued that the unresolved Kashmir issue provided “the chief call to arms” to terrorists in the region.

These remarks were interpreted by some in India as a sign of a broader strategy that sees the resolution of the Kashmir dispute as crucial to bringing stability to South Asia.

Political parties in India were quick to denounce these remarks and the chief opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) described Miliband’s visit to India last week as “a diplomatic disaster”.

The external affairs ministry snubbed London saying it did not need “unsolicited advice” on its internal affairs.

Miliband also rubbed India the wrong way when he asserted during his visit to New Delhi that there was no evidence to suggest that the Pakistani state directed the Mumbai carnage, remarks that contradicted Manmohan Singh’s contention that “official agencies” of Pakistan were complicit in the terror attacks.

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