"Peace process with Pak won't be affected"

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 18, 2013 09:08 hrs

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday said India will not allow the recent border tensions to 'affect' the peace process with Pakistan.

"The peace process has been something in which a lot of time has been invested and we won´t let these incidents that have happened recently affect it," Khurshid told NDTV.

Khurshid made the comments at a time when Pakistan High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir said that Pakistan-bashing has become fashionable in India.

Speaking at an interview on the current Indo-Pak tension, Bashir said: "To say that these (the killing of the two Indian Army soldiers) were done done by Pakistan, or the Pakistan Army was something that we cannot agree to."

"Unfortunately i must say that it has almost become fashionable...Pakistan bashing has become fashionable whenever there is an issue," he said.

Bashir said it was important that both the nuclear-armed neighbours engaged in dialogue.

On Wednesday, Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar invited her Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid for talks to check the escalating tension.

Speaking to CNN, Khar said, "We would think the best way to deal with this instead of raising the rhetoric would be a political level discussion and I am open to have a dialogue with the external affairs minister of India. I invite him for that matter for a dialogue at the political level so that we can resolve the LoC issue and to ensure we continue to respect the ceasefire, which is absolutely crucial because if we start acting in this manner then we are going back into the history."

Khurshid on Thursday said a decision on the offer of talks with his Pakistani counterpart over the tensions along the border in Kashmir had not yet been taken.

"These are things which you should analyse, reflect on and take a decision. When we take a decision, we will let you know. Let´s just take things a step at a time," he said

Khurshid met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday to discuss Pakistan´s offer for foreign minister level talks to check tension at the Line of Control (LoC).

Ties between the two nuclear armed neighbours deteriorated last week over border firing and killing of two Indian soldiers, including the beheading of one of the martyrs by Pakistani troops.

Pakistan has, however, denied its soldiers killed or beheaded any Indian soldiers.

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