Reactions in Congress varied from caution to commendation over Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif’s acceptance of the invitation to attend Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi’s oath-taking ceremony.While senior leader Digvijay Singh hailed the decision to invite Sharif as a “positive change in Modi” compared to the “quite contrary” things he had been saying earlier, Congress spokesperson Shashi Tharoor said that the party feels that there is “no basis for substantive talks” at the moment between the two countries.
Further, Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed said that photo opportunities are okay, but in the euphoria of coronation, Modi should not compromise national interest.
Outgoing Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, for his part, reminded that BJP has all along maintained that terror and talks cannot go together.
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“It’s a very positive thing and he (Modi) has only followed the policy which was enunciated from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, although he has been talking quite contrary to what he has done now. Therefore, I think it is a positive change in Modi,” Singh said.
Tharoor, who was earlier a Minister of State for External Affairs, however, had a word of caution to offer. “As far as Congress is concerned, all we have said is that there is a consensual position on the question of why we have not been inviting Nawaz Sharif or former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to Delhi since 26/11. Nor have we sent our Prime Minister there. And that position has been related to 26/11 and the horrors of that terror attack,” Tharoor said.
He said India has maintained that until its minimum demands for progress in pursuing, prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators and accomplices behind 26/11 are not met or unless steps are taken to dismantle the infrastructure for carrying out terror attacks on India and Indian interests in Afghanistan, “there is no basis for substantive talks”.