Terming the secret meeting between National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan in Bangkok a “grand betrayal”, the Congress on Sunday alleged that it reflects the “flip-flops” of the government’s Pakistan policy. The BJP, however, welcomed the talks, saying it was in the spirit of Ufa statement of Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
“It’s a grand betrayal. It’s a betrayal of everything that this government has ostensibly, publicly espoused,” said Congress leader Manish Tewari.
“If you look at the track record of this government over the past 18 months, their Pakistan policy has been an extravaganza, a somersault, flip-flops and 180-degree U-turns and this is absolutely the crowning glory,” he said, referring to the mutual blame game earlier this year resulting in the cancellation of talks.
After the verbal sparring between the foreign minister and the then Pakistan NSA Sartaz Aziz, now suddenly 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, he said.
He said the government should have explained the rationale behind the move and held it either in New Delhi or Islamabad if the talks were so essential. “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,” Tewari said.
The BJP, however, backed the government. BJP secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said: “We welcome the dialogue since it is a continuation of Ufa agreement in which the first step was for the NSAs of the countries to meet.”
BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said: “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.”