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Indo-Pak talks: Congress dismisses invitation to Kashmiri separatists to meet Sartaj Aziz

Sartaj-aziz

New Delhi: Congress sought to dismiss the invitation to Kashmiri separatist leaders to meet Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday during his visit for NSA-level talks here next week, and questioned the Modi government over its policy towards Pakistan and terrorism.

“What are the talks about. They (separatists) are one of the actors in the state. Let’s not give them undue importance. They are not respecting unity and integrity of the country and Constitution of India. There is an elected government in J&K. People have spoken more than once (through elections). Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and this issue is non-negotiable,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters when asked about the invitation to the Hurriyat Conference from the Pakistan High Commission.

Reacting to the development, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Pakistan is so belligerent that they are questioning the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India and now just before NSA-level talks they are inviting the separatists who do not have faith in Indian Constitution…Is this the Kashmir policy vis-a-vis Pakistan that the Modi government has? What is Modi government’s policy on tackling terror?” Surjewala asked.

Asked about the party’s views on the NSA-level talks which has come under attack even from senior BJP leader and former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, Sharma said that the problem with the Narendra Modi dispensation is that there has been “no roadmap” on engagement with Pakistan despite “complex issues” involved.

“There are abrupt policy statements (on dealing with Pakistan). (Talks) On today. Off tomorrow,” he said, insisting that only the Prime Minister could tell what assurances he had got from his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Ufa which prompted him to have NSA-level talks.

Noting that diplomacy and statecraft are “not event management programme and photo opportunities”, Sharma said that there has been escalation of attacks along the LoC and breach of Indian borders after the Ufa talks.

Asked whether there should be talks, he said that the two countries need to have constructive dialogue which will be conducive to peace and shared prosperity.

At the same time, he sought categorical assurance from Pakistan of dismantling the syndicate of terrorist organisations on its soil and that it would bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes. The Kashmiri separatist leaders have been invited by the Pakistan High Commission here to meet Aziz, who will visit India to hold talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on August 23.

PTI