Stepping up the pressure in the wake of the Uri attack, the Congress on Monday asked the Centre to cut down the strength of the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi and scale down New Delhi’s presence in Islamabad as well. It also asked the government to convene a special session of Parliament to discuss the security situation and to declare Pakistan a terrorist state.
“Extreme situations demand extreme decisions,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi. Stating that the Centre’s response has been unsatisfactory so far, he said: “By now, Pakistan should have been declared a terrorist state. We demand that a special one or two-day session of Parliament be called to discuss the security situation and, more particularly, to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. We demand near absolute economic sanctions against Pakistan… We demand the considerable scaling down of Pakistan High Commission in Delhi and vice versa of our mission there.”
The Congress adopted a hawkish approach on the Indus water treaty too. The party said that while Article 62 of the Vienna convention provides for withdrawal, there are methods that are “short of withdrawal also”. Singhvi said India can construct more dams, which are allowed under the treaty and which can affect Pakistan, within the permissible limits of the treaty. “There are a menu of options… all we are saying is that we cannot be silent spectators to muscular jingoism every day with zero action on the ground,” Singhvi said.
“India is looking weak… the nation wants concrete action against the rogue state of Pakistan, flourishing both under the government and military of that country… Aimless political strategy is not a synonym for strategic restraint… strategic restraint in the face of grave provocation should not mean the absence of a strategic response… the Prime Minister’s speech itself demonstrates strategic ambiguity and not strategic response,” he said. “We do not want this to lead to strategic confusion, making India a laughing stock of the world or of Pakistan.”
The Congress also asked the government to embark on a course of “vehement lobbying” across the world, with every major power which provides aid or has economic cooperation with Pakistan, and withdraw the Most Favoured Nation status accorded to Pakistan. “Why is there delay in considering and finalising the asylum request of Baloch leader Brahumdagh Bugti. Why keep it hanging? If you have reason not to grant it, reject it. But otherwise, why keep it hanging?” said Singhvi.