Union Minister Shashi Tharoor’s video address to an Indo-Pakistan entrepreneurs' event here today was abruptly cut off after he lambasted the Pakistani government for ceasefire violations on the LoC and suggested the civilian administration did not control the military.
Though the event was billed as a peace initiative on the economic front, Minister for State for HRD Tharoor surprised many, including the Indian delegation, as he took on the Pakistani administration.
India is committed to resolve all issues with Pakistan, including the Kashmir dispute, through dialogue on the basis of the Simla Agreement but an environment free from terror and violence is needed for this, he said.
"However, the Mumbai attacks five years ago and the recent LoC incidents have shown a gap between Pakistan's official statement and military’s action...(This) suggests the civilian government, even if sincere, is not entirely in control of the security apparatus," he said in the pre-recorded speech.
Tharoor began his address by emphasising the need to strengthen bilateral trade but later took a harder line and suggested what the Pakistani government should do.
"It will help the Pakistan government, facing home-grown terrorists even as they export terror to neighbours", if there is more willingness to join the quest for peace, he said.
"The moment the Pakistani establishment genuinely discards terrorism as an instrument of state policy, the prospect of peace will dawn on the subcontinent."
Tharoor said Pakistan was "unfortunately" pursuing the flawed policy of selectively targeting some terrorists and extremists and "ignoring or actively supporting others".
Unlike in Pakistan, the Indian Army does not "make foreign policy", which is the prerogative of the elected civilian government that is determined to engage in dialogue, he told the audience of about 300 at Jinnah Auditorium.
The atmosphere in the auditorium became a bit tense during Tharoor's speech and the video was cut off after about nine minutes.
The audience included 22 Indian delegates and officials of the Indian High Commission, including envoy T C A Raghavan.