JAIPUR - Amid a demand for a toughly-worded resolution against Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday signaled to Islamabad that it should mend its ways if it wanted friendship with India."We want friendship and good relationship with all including Pakistan but how is it possible if it resorts to such actions"? Singh was quoted by party leaders as saying at the Congress's Chintan Shivir (brainstorming camp) here.His remarks came in the backdrop of the killing of soldiers along the Line of Control in Kashmir.Singh attended a meeting of the Congress group on 'India and the World' headed by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and participated by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Maharastra's Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.Party leader Rashid Alvi said that after the Prime Minister's "strong" message to Pakistan, the opposition also became quiet and it also brought Islamabad to its senses. Earlier, the Chintan Shivir saw party chief Sonia Gandhi, angry over the alleged beheading of an Indian soldier and making it plain that India's dialogue with Pakistan must be based on accepted principles of civilized behaviour. "Better and closer relations with our immediate neighbours will not only make for regional peace - they will also have a positive impact on some of our own border states," she said in her opening remarks at the Shivir."However, let us be clear. Our dialogue must be based on accepted principles of civilized behavior.Her remarks came as External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid spoke on the sidelines of the Shivir about "positive indications" from Pakistan for its proposal for Foreign Minister-level talks to resolve the heightened tension along the Line of Control (LoC) following the beheading of an Indian soldier and said it would respond fully only after getting the formal proposal.After the meeting, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told reporters that discussions on the country's foreign policy, relations with neibhouring countries including Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan, were held.He also said the issue of India's demand for a permanent seat in UN's Security Council was among other issues discussed in the meeting.INP adds: Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir has said Islamabad is willing to address all Indian concerns over LoC, including its demand for a probe into the mutilation of the bodies of Indian soldiers.In an exclusive interview to an Indian paper, Salman Bashir said: “Essentially, what the Pakistan foreign minister has said is that Pakistan is willing to discuss all Indian concerns, especially those related to the recent LoC developments with a clear objective to ensure respect for ceasefire along the LoC.” Asked if his assurance included India’s demand for investigations into the beheading of soldier Hem Raj, Bashir said, “When we say all concerns, we are not excluding anything. I believe all civilised people, no matter where they are, would be appalled by the gruesome incident.” However, Bashir added, for India to accuse Pakistan of the act without any probe was still not understandable for Pakistan.Salman reached out to the Indian people, saying that they should not look upon Pakistanis as insensitive or inhumane. In what is likely to soothe frayed nerves here further, Salman did not mention any international role, including the UN, while talking about investigations into the incident. “We want both sides at the military level to undertake their own investigations and use bilateral channels to get to the bottom of the incident. We are also concerned about ceasefire violations that have resulted in several casualties on our side, but for peace we believe that the way forward is talks instead of recrimination,” he emphasised.He added: “The Pakistan foreign minister’s offer for talks with her counterpart is of considerable significance as it shows Pakistan’s desire to steer the process of reengagement in the right direction and at the same time address the issues of concern through the dialogue process. We hope that this sincere gesture will be reciprocated."While doubts have been raised about Pakistan's commitment to MFN status for India, Bashir also brushed that aside saying that the "in principle" decision still stands and Islamabad will continue to seek better trade ties with India. He, however, added that for this it was important the positive atmosphere prior to the LoC flare-up was not vitiated.Bashir said he found developments like the return of Pakistan hockey players and move by India to stall visa-on-arrival for senior citizens troubling. “I think when there are multiple issues, both sides need to communicate more and not allow iron curtains to descend.”He pointed out there had been no impulsive reactions from Pakistan authorities to the statements made by Indian leaders, including Manmohan Singh. He said Pakistan still looked upon Singh as a man of peace who was very well respected in his country for his initiative for dialogue between the two countries.
Bashir said Pakistan was not proposing any time frame for Khar-Khurshid dialogue. “We have made an offer and the two most important words are dialogue and de-escalation,” he said.Talking about the deep sense of hurt in India over the LoC incident, Bashir called upon people in position of responsibility and opinion makers to act responsibly instead of playing with raw emotions. “People of Pakistan are not insensitive to the sentiments of the people of India. Whenever there is a tragic incident – whether it an earthquake or a terror attack or some heinous crime - ordinary people have the same sentiments. But what I object to is the instinctive reflexes for Pakistan bashing and whipping up of emotions which has almost turned into a stereotype. It is important for saner voices to realise that neither Pakistan can wish India away nor India can do the same to Pakistan,” he said.