NDA ally Shiv Sena and opposition parties on Monday sought to corner the Modi government inside and outside Parliament over the secret NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan with the Congress accusing it of making a “fundamental departure” from its position on Indo-Pak ties.
The government also faced flak from senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, a former External Affairs Minister, who questioned its strategy, saying it should explain to the country as to why they are resuming the dialogue when the ruling party has been maintaining that talks and terror cannot go on together.
Raising the issue at start of Rajya Sabha proceedings, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarify India’s engagement with Pakistan and take Parliament and Opposition into confidence about the direction and roadmap that government has in mind.
“I have given a notice under Rule 267 so that the Prime Minister and his government inform the House about the developments and the reasons which have made the government to
make a fundamental departure from the position as was conveyed to this august House in the last session with regard to India’s engagement with Pakistan,” he said. Sharma also accused the government of ‘disrespecting’ Parliament.
The Government on its part assured the opposition that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will make a statement on the issue later this week.
Swaraj will travel tomorrow for a multilateral conference in Islamabad, where she will also hold talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz.
“The fact that the Foreign Secretaries have accompanied the National Security Advisors means that the scope and the agenda has been expanded.
“Therefore, we would demand government takes Parliament into confidence and the Prime Minister shares as to what has been the understanding reached between him and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the government now to move forward,” he said.
Responding to him, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi reaffirmed government’s strong commitment to national interest and said, “on the issue raised by you, I assure you that on December 10 the External Affairs Minister will come to the House and provide all information on the issues that you have raised.”
K C Tyagi (JD-U) raised the issue of a purported statement of Pakistan NSA saying the issue of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir will also be discussed during the talks.
“What do you mean by that…Is this a departure from the past? We want that the Minister declares its position on Kashmir,” he said.
Government also faced heat outside Parliament on the NSA-level talks that was held in Bangkok yesterday.
“BJP all along has been saying that terror and talks can’t go together….Terrorist attacks are going on throughout and India itself says tht Pakistan is behind them. So what is the point then(to hold talks). Government owes it to the people of this country to tell them why they are resuming the dialogue,” Sinha said.
Criticising the Bangkok talks, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that having dialogue with Pakistan was pointless as their main goal was to destroy India by sponsoring terrorism
here and added that no amount of talks would solve the strained ties between the two nations.
He demanded why the talks were happening, saying that the nation was waiting for an answer as well.