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Indian media slams Pakistan over talks' 'failure'
Sat, Jul 17, 2010
AFP

NEW DELHI - Indian newspapers on Saturday blamed Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi for the "failure" of peace talks earlier in the week between the two countries.

"Qureshi kills peace talks," read a headline on the front page of leading circulation daily The Times of India, a day after Indian foreign minister S.M. Krishna returned to New Delhi from Islamabad.

The strongly worded comments came after the discussions, meant to build trust between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, soured over what Islamabad charged was India's "selective" approach to outstanding issues.

Another top-selling daily The Economic Times accused Islamabad of pushing ties "off the diplomatic rails ... by sidelining New Delhi's main demand for action" against the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai Islamic militant attacks.

India's Hindustan Times accused Pakistan of "ambush diplomacy" by seeking to set a fixed timeframe to resolve key issues such as the row over disputed Muslim-majority Kashmir, the trigger of two of three wars between the nations.

This led to the "meeting's failure," the newspaper said.

Qureshi on Friday had accused India of "narrowing down the talks" by focusing exclusively on militancy rather than the whole range of issues between the countries, including the status of Kashmir and water access rights.

He said Pakistan wanted the discussions to lead to the creation of a "roadmap" for better relations. "But Indians felt they did not have the mandate to commit to it," Qureshi said.

Despite the chilly atmosphere, both Qureshi and Krishna have agreed to meet again in New Delhi to pursue improved relations that were derailed by the Mumbai carnage in which 166 people died.

India and Pakistan's prime ministers met in April on the sidelines of a summit in Bhutan and set in motion the process of trying to revive contacts.

The thaw in relations has been encouraged by Western allies, in particular by the United States, which sees regional stability as vital to winning the war in Afghanistan and has pushed Pakistan to fight Taliban insurgents.

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