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Modi-Sharif meeting neither historic nor a breakthrough: Cong

New Delhi : Congress today came down heavily on the Centre over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with his Pakistani counterpart in Ufa, alleging the NDA “diluted” India’s long-held positions on terrorism and commitments extracted from Pakistan on the issue.

“It (Modi’s meeting with Pakistan’s premier Nawaz Sharif) is neither historic nor a breakthrough… It is a diluted rehash of India’s past positions and commitments extracted from Pakistan,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

Trashing the Modi-Sharif joint statement, Sharma said there has been “no clarity, coherence and consistency” on the government’s policy to deal with the neighbouring country and that all the steps of Prime Minister Modi on Pakistan have been “ill-advised”.

Seeking action against those involved in the Mumbai terror attacks, Sharma said, “All evidence has been given to Pakistan in the dossier which is adequate to prosecute and convict those involved.”

“This (joint) statement is a departure and dilution. We would like to ask the PM why he conceded that we have not given evidence. This justifies Pakistan’s intransigence on the trial of 26/11 perpetrators there,” he said.

Noting that the claims of a breakthrough in today’s talks were “laughable”, he said that the policy as regards to Pakistan appeared to be “one of abrupt decisions and engaging in fits and starts”.

While External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said in June that there would be no talks with Pakistan, the Prime Minister suddenly has a meeting with Sharif on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Ufa.

Sharma made it clear that the Congress is of the consistent view that there has to be “constructive interaction with Pakistan provided that terror machinery is dismantled and perpetrators of Mumbai attack are brought to justice.”

“The country is in the dark as to what assurance the government has got from Pakistan,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister has not disclosed as to what Sharif or Chinese President Xi Jinping told him on Beijing’s support to Islamabad on the Zaki-ur Rahman Lakhvi issue in the UN.

Taking a dig at Modi, he said “event organisation and image building is definitely not smart diplomacy”. Sharma was also critical of the government voting against Palestine on a resolution in the UN.

“India cannot make such departures, the PM’s stand has jeopardised our relationship with Palestine and other Middle East countries,” he said, adding that the move has not gone down well not only with Palestinian leaders but with other leaders of Middle East.

Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal took a dig at Modi and said, “Those who came to power proclaiming ’56-inch chest’ and had promised action against Pakistan have proved actionless…

The government has failed to take any stern action.”

Afzal said Modi met Sharif in Ufa while the Army chief was paying homage to a soldier martyred in ceasefire violations by Pakistan.