Indicating that it will play the role of an aggressive Opposition despite its worst-ever electoral performance, the Congress Friday nuanced its position on Narendra Modi’s decision to invite Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony. It reminded the Prime Minister-designate that “atmosphere” is still not “conducive” for holding “serious talks” with Pakistan.
The Congress told Modi that he should not forget in the “euphoria” of his “coronation” that Pakistan has not dismantled the terror network operating against India from its soil.
Referring to Friday’s attack on the Indian consulate in Herat in Afghanisatan, Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said “we all know from where it is emanating”.
“We have no problem with you indulging in a photo-op with the Pakistan Prime Minister. But we would advise abundant caution before using this visit to slip into substantive talks,” he said. Ahmed pointed out that the outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not visit Pakistan when he was in office. Neither had he invited either President Zardari or Nawaz Sharif to Delhi.
“Because the signals from Pakistan were not there, we avoided PM’s visit to Pakistan and did not invite the President or the Prime Minister of Pakistan to India during the UPA government. We had a precondition with which the Opposition was also in agreement that as long as Pakistan does not dismantle the terror network operating from its soil or at least look working towards such a direction, there will be no talks with Pakistan,” he said.
“We are okay if he wants to have a photo clicked with Nawaz Sharif. It is also okay if some photo of the two gets published in newspapers. But as long as there is no signal from Pakistan about dismantling terror network, we should not hold serious talks with them,” he added.