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Culture terror across borders

New Delhi, Sept. 18: Delhi has added a shrill note to the “clash of culture” with Islamabad, telling Pakistan it was the last country from which India should accept lessons on diplomatic decorum and hospitality.

“We are amused at the comments of the spokesman of the Pakistan foreign ministry arrogating to himself the untenable position of giving lessons in customs, tradition, practice and hospitality,” an external affairs ministry spokesperson said.

The repartee was the latest in a public brawl that prompted Pakistan yesterday to call off the visit of its foreign minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri to Delhi. Kasuri’s trip to invite Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee to a Saarc summit in Islamabad was cancelled after his Indian counterpart Yashwant Sinha took a potshot at the need for such a tour.

Pakistan has singled out Sinha for pouring scorn, commenting on what it said was “his utter contempt for South Asian cultural values”.

Today, it was India’s turn. A statement said Pakistan had made no specific request on Kasuri’s visit. “Perhaps it is not required in the traditions and customs of Pakistan to ascertain the convenience and willingness of the host before barging in.”

India also used the opportunity to issue another statement reminding world leaders due to meet at the UN that Islamabad was “the problem and not the solution” in the global fight against terrorism.

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