Opposition Congress on Tuesday stepped up criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Pakistan policy in the wake of the Pathankot terror strike, saying he focused on “optics” rather than “outcome” and argued that the environment at the moment is not conducive for talks. It did not demand cancellation of the forthcoming foreign secretary-level talks, leaving the tricky decision to the government.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “Pathankot attack is an attack on India because one of the country’s airbases has been under attack for days.” He said the terror strike sparks many questions, like what was the understanding reached between the NSAs at their Bangkok meeting. “What was the assurance given that persuaded PM Modi to make a departure or make a dramatic visit to Lahore?” Sharma asked.
He said the UPA government had made the resumption of the comprehensive dialogue process conditional. The UPA government’s approach was “outcome over optics”, he said, adding “it is now optics first and outcome later.”
The government hit back, saying that the Congress was trying to mislead the country on such a sensitive issue and its “shameful” statements will boost the morale of people with “anti-national mindset”. “The Congress has crossed all limits today. At a time when it should keep in mind the sentiments of the people, it is questioning the martyrdom of our personnel… Such statements show its irresponsible behaviour on national security issue,” Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.