"I must make it very clear that we have not reached a stage where we have done something like 'so-called resumed talks'. We used to have a composite dialogue and that composite dialogue got suspended and then we began to move towards a process to resume that dialogue subsequently," he said. (Agencies)
"While the two Prime Ministers met in New York (last month), we have not reached a stage where we have indicated any dates, timeline or perspective on the resumed dialogue...But whether and when the political level dialogue will take place and when, that is yet not clear," he told reporters while returning with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a bilateral visit to Indonesia.
He was responding to questions on whether recent incidents on the Line of Control have impacted the dialogue process. "But (as far as) the incidents at the LoC and border are concerned, they are upsetting. The army is dealing with it and the Defence Minister is dealing with it, but I can't say it is conducive to a faster movement in normalization," he said.
The incidents on the LoC are "unwelcome" and distract attention from efforts made by both sides to move towards normal relations, he said.
Khurshid said there were "many routine things" continuing between India and Pakistan and these "will continue". He added: "This (political dialogue) is something our leaders will work out in due course."
Bilateral ties soured after five Indian soldiers were killed in an attack by Pakistani troops on the LoC in August. More recently, the Indian Army conducted a 15-day operation in Keran sector of the LoC to flush out terrorists who infiltrated a village allegedly with the backing of Pakistani special forces.
Khurshid said he hoped there would be speedy action on the decisions made by the two Prime Ministers during their meeting in New York last month to reduce tensions on the LoC.
"We still hope that what was agreed between the PMs on DGMO-level meetings, that will take place in near future. I think India very consciously and carefully decided that DGMOs should be given priority because they are best placed to understand why these incidents are taking place," he said.
The Directors General of Military Operations is best placed to put in place checks and controls against incidents on the LoC. "Thereafter, we can think of something more favourable and welcoming for our relationship," he added.
"The idea was to have a meeting at the earliest possible time. There is a mechanism in place for weekly telephonic conversation at deputy DGMO-level. I am not even sure whether a time and venue have even fixed," he said.
Khurshid welcomed "repeated signals" from Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about wanting to improve ties with India. "We did not hold back to responding to their request as far as power and gas was concerned but it’s a long-term gestation matter," he said.
Noting that Pakistan recently went through elections and soon India too will go to the polls, Khurshid said it may not be appropriate to invest much political capital in times like these. His cabinet colleague, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who was part of the delegation to Indonesia, said Pakistan has lagged in doing its part for greater economic ties while India has responded to its requests for supplying electricity and gas.
Sharma said greater economic ties will be key to improving the relationship between the two countries and across the region.
"I must make it very clear that we have not reached a stage where we have done something like 'so-called resumed talks'. We used to have a composite dialogue and that composite dialogue got suspended and then we began to move towards a process to resume that dialogue subsequently," he said.