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Bangkok represents greatest betrayal of national interest: Congress

BJP CONGRESS

New Delhi: The Congress Party on Monday lashed out at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government for initiating secretive talks with the Pakistan Government in Bangkok, Thailand, describing it categorically as a betrayal of national interests.

Congress Party spokesman Randeep Surjewala told ANI that, “the Congress Party has always stood for peaceful resolution through mutual cooperation and mutual talks, but this (NDA) government did not take us into confidence about the talks in Bangkok.”

“The talks with Pakistan have gone through a series of flip-flops and the current talks do not inspire much expectation. Further, it raises the question of whether these talks are being used as a diversion by the Modi government from pivotal issues such as the economic, political or agrarian crisis,” he added.

Congress leader and former union minister Manish Tewari said, “Bangkok represents the greatest betrayal of national interest. What has changed?

Another Congress leader P.L. Punia told ANI, “It is difficult to understand the foreign policy of this government. There should be talks, we are not against it, but there should be some result also. Without any policy and agenda, there is no use of having such dialogues.”

Punia further stated that he was surprised that the Kashmir issue had also been raised by the Indian and Pakistan delegations at the talks in Bangkok, adding, “NSA-level is only to discuss on terrorist activities and how to tackle terrorism.”

Pramod Tewari, another senior Congress leader, said, “I have heard that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is going to Pakistan. I do not know what is happening, but one thing is sure, ceasefire violations and dialogue cannot go hand in hand. We cannot spare terrorists. These talks in Bangkok should be condemned vehemently.”

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI, “When both India and Pakistan are talking, even then ceasefire violations are continuing along the border against India. My question is what India is going to achieve through these dialogues. Terrorism in India cannot take place without Pakistan’s support. Pakistan wants to finish off India.”

He further stated, “We will keep on being sweet with Pakistan, and on the contrary, they will (continue to) kill our soldiers. This cannot happen for long.

The reactions came a day after it was revealed that the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan had held a secret meeting in Bangkok on Sunday and discussed a range of issues, including peace and security, terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir.

According to media reports, the meeting was agreed upon by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif when they met in Paris last week on the sidelines of COP-21, and Bangkok was chosen as the most convenient location for both sides to have the discussions.

A joint statement issued later said that the foreign secretaries of both countries accompanied the NSAs. The statement said the discussions “covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, other issues including tranquility over the Line of Control.”

The discussions reportedly lasted for over four hours and that all subjects having a security dimension, including Jammu and Kashmir, were raised and talked about.

“It was agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement,” the joint statement.

It is also being reported, but yet to be confirmed, that Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is all set to travel to Pakistan on Tuesday for an Afghanistan-related conference.

NSA-level talks were scheduled earlier this year when the two Prime Ministers had met for a bilateral summit in Ufa, Russia, but that meeting fell through at the last minute after Pakistan insisted that it wanted to have talks with Kashmiri separatists in Delhi before going in for official delegation-level talks.

Both sides also disagreed about the agenda of the meeting, with Islamabad pushing for an “open agenda” and India maintaining the talks should be confined to terrorism. (ANI)