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'Mention of Balochistan in joint-statement a big mistake'

Source: PTI
July 22, 2009 00:16 IST
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Criticising the Indo-Pak joint statement, former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra has said India has made "a very big mistake" by allowing Balochistan to figure in it.

"India could have thwarted Pakistan's attempt by playing the Kabul card. If Pak was very insistent about talking on

Balochistan, there was a way to handle it and that was to talk about Kabul. Perhaps, we were so keen to have the joint statement that we did not bother about the damaging aspects," he lamented.

Mishra, in an interview to Karan Thapar for CNBC's 'India Tonight' programme, said it was a "very big mistake" by permitting the mention of Balochistan in the statement.

Observing that the joint "statement is in complete reversal from India's earlier position", Mishra said, "I do not disagree with the vision of the Prime Minister that good, friendly, cooperative relationship between India and Pakistan is important. But you cannot have success in this by being a supplicant. You have to be strong. People should know that you are not talking out of weakness. Today the impression is given that we are weak.....And, therefore, we are giving all these away," he said.

The Indo-Pak joint statement was issued last week in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt, after a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit. Besides delinking the terrorism from the composite dialogue, the statement also mentioned terrorism in Balochistan.

Asked if it was the mistake on the part of officials during the drafting of the statement, Mishra said, "I know the foreign office very well. I know our intelligence agencies here fairly well. I don't think its the fault of the officials."

He nodded replying in affirmative when asked if the political leadership was to be blamed for this.

Mishra said, "The joint statement is an indication that India is behaving like a supplicant since 26/11, doing nothing on its own, relying on the US and Europe and others to do it for them."

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