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Diplomacy lesson to Advani

New Delhi, March 14: Replying to L.K. Advani’s demand that he spell out the scope and content of India’s negotiations with Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said he does not believe in conducting diplomacy in public.

The Prime Minister’s retort came in a letter to the leader of the Opposition.

The BJP’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, reacted to the reply by demanding that the joint anti-terror mechanism with Pakistan “be scrapped”.

Advani had written to Singh yesterday seeking a categorical assurance from him that there would be no demilitarisation in Jammu and Kashmir and that troop deployment would not be part of bilateral negotiations with Pakistan.

The Prime Minister wrote back that “full regard” was being given to India’s administrative and constitutional requirements and to the overriding imperatives of national security. “At the same time, we do not believe in conducting diplomacy in public and have conveyed our positions on these questions through the appropriate channels,” the letter said.

Advani also wanted to know why India had not rejected Pakistan’s reported dossier accusing India of sponsoring terrorism in Baluchistan. Singh told him that talks could not make meaningful progress unless Islamabad lived up in letter and spirit to its January 2004 commitment on checking terrorism.

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