TEHRAN (FNA)- Even as Pakistan used a debate on peacekeeping at the United Nations (UN) to push for a Line of Control (LoC) monitoring role for UNMOGIP, Islamabad said it has conveyed a request to New Delhi to start formal talks at the foreign minister level on the recent LoC firing.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in response that the bilateral process had been "reaffirmed". "We did hear some statements about giving access to third parties in this affair. I think we have moved away from that... I think that the contacts between the DGMOs of both sides have indicated that the bilateral process remains in a sustained and steady manner," he said, Times of India reported.
Meanwhile, Pakistani officials told reporters in Islamabad that it had made a formal request for foreign minister talks. Indian officials, however, said that Pakistan foreign office had given a copy of Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar's statement to the Indian deputy high commissioner, Gopal Baglay. "This does not constitute a formal request," officials said, indicating it would be a while before India accepts such offers. Asked about the offer for talks, Khurshid said the situation had, because of certain "unacceptable" incidents, come under doubt. "The atmospherics were deteriorating considerably and therefore it was important for us that we first ensure that the atmospherics return to normal or near-normal," he said.
However, attempting to put a lid on the UNMOGIP issue, Khurshid added, "We haven't heard anything more about statements that obviously are not acceptable to us. We do reiterate our position that these are bilateral issues and they should be settled bilaterally. "
Hardeep S Puri, India's envoy to the UN delivered a hard-hitting response in the UN. In his remarks, he said, "A reference has been made to UNMOGIP. Suffice it to point out that UNMOGIP's role has been overtaken by the Shimla Agreement of 1972 between India and Pakistan, signed by the heads of the two governments and ratified by their respective parliaments. In times of austerity, we need to address the question, whether the resources being spent on UNMOGIP would not be better utilized elsewhere. "
Expectedly, the UNGA discussion descended into a verbal duel between India and Pakistan. Pakistan refuted India's contention on UNMOGIP saying the body remained relevant. In response, India said relevance of UNMOGIP had expired after the 1972 Shimla agreement, because a new ceasefire line came into being. UNMOGIP had been appointed to monitor the old ceasefire line of 1949.