India today attributed the failure to sign a liberalised visa agreement with Pakistan last week to pending internal consultations in Islamabad and
the country's Interior Minister's desire for political participation in the exercise.
Home Secretary R K Singh said that during the Indo-Pak Home Secretary level talks in Islamabad on May 24-25 that the new visa pact could not be signed as Pakistani side conveyed that some internal discussions were still pending.
"An impression was also conveyed that Interior Minister of Pakistan (Rehman
Malik) wants both the Home Ministers to be present when it is signed," he told reporters here when asked the reason for the failure to sign the pact.
Singh said the Pakistani delegation told the Indian team that after the internal approvals, they would seek New Delhi's convenient date to sign the agreement
"I told them that when you seek our convenience, we will see and consult to determine our convenience," he said.
Asked what was his problem in visiting Pakistan or inviting his counterpart here to sign the agreement, Home Minister P
Chidambaram, who was also present at the press conference, said visit by an Indian Minister to any foreign country was not an easy process.
"Visits by ministers at central government level are decided at the highest level in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs. It is not a matter of A inviting B. I can invite you to my home for tea. But that is not the way you can simplify the issue. These are decisions taken at the highest level after consulting the MEA and others involved," he said.
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