With British Foreign Secretary David Miliband leaving a trail of controversies in India after his visit to the sub-continent, his office insisted that he had been "open and honest" in his views, even as the opposition in the UK described his trip as a "disaster".
Miliband's attempts to link terrorism to the Kashmir issue have not been received well in political circles in India and the opposition Conservatives in Britain too have expressed apprehension that Indo-U.
K.
ties could be damaged.
"The Foreign Secretary was very open and honest about his views, which are those of the British government.
He delivered the same message in New Delhi as he did in Islamabad," a spokeswoman for Miliband said late Saturday.
An official of the Foreign Office has been quoted by The Independent that Miliband had a "very good visit".
"The Foreign Secretary had a very good visit and what he took away to Pakistan was a very clear sense of anger felt about the Mumbai attacks and the need for decisive action by Pakistan, supported by the international community, to root out the terrorism that struck India with such devastating effect," he said.
The leading British newspaper also took potshots at the 43-year-old Foreign Secretary, saying, "Miliband was beginning to look as accident-prone as Mr Bean last night after yet another adventure backfired.
" "After ruining his chance of the Labour leadership by gurning (making faces) at the cameras while brandishing a banana, the Foreign Secretary's visit to India last week was labelled a 'disaster' by the country's leading politicians," the report said.
Miliband was accused of being "aggressive in tone and manner" in a meeting with the Indian Prime Minister and External Affairs minister, and dismissed as a "young man" by senior officials, the report said.
The visit had been billed as a "solidarity" trip over the terrorist attacks on Mumbai.
"But the diplomatic row caused further embarrassment to Miliband, just four months after the 'banana incident' at Labour's party conference in Manchester," the paper said.
While out of the country last week, the Foreign Secretary was also under fire in the U.
K.
for writing an article in which he declared the "war on terror" had been a "mistake".
The remarks, in the last days of George W.
Bush's Presidency, were flayed for being ill-judged and ill-timed.
In the same article, he wrote that resolution of the Kashmir issue would deny extremists in the region one of the main reasons for taking up arms.
The Independent also quoted statements of Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari criticising Miliband's attempts to link terrorism and Kashmir as also BJP leader Arun Jaitley's comments describing the visit as a "disaster".
William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said: "Good relations with India are very important to Britain, and must be handled with care and consistency.
If these statements are representative of how David Miliband's visit was received, then those relations will have been damaged.
" Miliband is not the first Labour Foreign Secretary to ruffle diplomatic feathers over Kashmir.
In 1997, Robin Cook was criticised by India for suggesting that the U.
K.
could mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad on the issue.