Hold SAARC Summit without Pak to isolate it: Cong to Modi govt

New Delhi: Congress on Wednesday sought to pick holes in the Narendra Modi government’s strategy to isolate Islamabad in the wake of Uri terror attack, saying instead of boycotting the SAARC summit it should have striven for a summit of the regional grouping minus Pakistan.

“Is scrapping the SAARC summit the answer? Could India not have a summit minus Pakistan?” party spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters, noting that South Asia was the “least integrated” region in the world.

Claiming that the Modi government was “deluding” itself by believing that its steps were helping cornering Islamabad, he said that a summit minus Pakistan could have been better for the isolation of the neighbouring country.

He said that though it has been 10 days since the dastardly attack in Uri, the Modi government is still “scrambling” for a coherent response. “Government responses in the past ten days have oscillated from the incoherent to ridiculous”.

Congress’ reaction came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a snub to Pakistan, decided not to attend the SAARC Summit in Islamabad to be held in November, leading to its collapse as the grouping works on the basis of consensus. Three more countries–Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan–have also decided to pull out of the Summit.

He also wondered if India’s withdrawal of MFN status would change the behaviour of Pakistan. “What effect will removing the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status have on the state of Pakistan?” he asked.

Similarly, he also questioned the Modi government’s review of the Indus Water Treaty. “What does that even mean? It would take 5-10 years to build hydel projects. Is this the kind of response that the people are looking for? Will the RSS and BJP workers make a human dam to deny Pakistan water?”

Targeting the Prime Minister, he said national security and diplomacy is “too serious an issue to be left to tweets and empty rhetoric”.

Tewari said the government needs to really take a hard look because one day you hear the drums of war being beaten, the other day you will hear this is war by other means, third day you hear this is war by economic means.

“So, when there is no coherence of policy, you send out a signal to your interlocutors that they are dealing with a bunch of amateurs and that hurts India. They are charged with the remit of looking after India’s National security at least for the next 27-odd months,” he said.