New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday termed the dramatic meeting between Indian and Pakistani National Security Advisors in Bangkok a reflection of the “flip-flops and 180-degree U-turns” of the NDA government’s Pakistan policy.
“After the verbal calisthenics that one witnessed between the foreign minister and the then NSA of Pakistan Sartaz Aziz, now suddenly without any provocation, without explaining to the country as to what has changed between September, 2015 and December 2015, the government decides to re-engage and that too in Bangkok!” mocked Congress leader Manish Tewari after the public announcement of the NSA-level meeting.
He described the government’s track record on Pakistan in the last 18 months “an extravaganza, a summersault, flip-flops and 180-degree U-turns and this is absolutely the crowning glory”.
He further alleged that it’s a ‘grand betrayal’. “It’s a betrayal of everything that this government has ostensibly, publicly espoused,” he claimed and said if the talks were so necessary, the government should have explained the rationale behind re-engaging with Pakistsan. “If you felt that engagement with Pakistan is so essential, then the correct way to do it would be to stand up, explain the rationale and say that we have been making mistake after mistake in calling off the engagement with Pakistan and therefore, we are now going to persist with the broad spectrum engagement,” he said.
Tewari’s colleague and Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala alleged the meeting was a ‘diversionary tactic’ but hastened to add his party was for a dialogue with Pakistan. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, however, welcomed the talks. “Good to see India and Pakistan resume the dialogue process,” Abdullah tweeted.
“Perhaps this is the way quiet progress will be made away from each other’s capitals and the glare of media driven expectations,” he said. The BJP backed the government’s move, stating it was in the spirit of the Ufa statement by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif. “The spirit of the Ufa statement is exactly what we are seeing in play here… we have seen that the last two opportunities have not been translated into direct talks. The first between the foreign secretaries and the second one being just after Ufa between the NSAs, that got cancelled out. So, I think we need to see it in that context,” Nalin Kohli, the party spokesman, said, adding that the talks were held in Bangkok to avoid media attention.
“Indo-Pak relationship is subject to an ultra-microscopic approach in terms of the excitement it generates within a whole segment, including the media so perhaps that may be a reason,” he said.
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