New Delhi: Soon after India called off the foreign ministers meeting with Pakistan, former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid underscored that the decision of holding a meeting with Islamabad in the first place ‘made no sense’.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the United National General Assembly in New York
“I have imagined that welcome is an inappropriate word, but what they (the central government) have done is right. We were extremely concerned. The conditions were very unclear. Conditions were very adverse. In those conditions for them to have announced that there would be a meeting between the Foreign Ministers was very upsetting matter. The situation has been extremely delicate. We have men, who are giving up their lives for the country. It makes no sense,” Khurshid told ANI.
“I am only saying this because whenever we tried to reach out to Pakistan when we were in government, so that we could find a peaceful outcome, BJP was extremely critical. We respected the BJP’s view. We called off any attempt to outreach Pakistan because we thought BJP was correct in what it was saying despite the duty we felt to search for peace. Now, they can’t apply two separate standards – one to when they are in Opposition and other one when they are in government,” Khurshid added.
The Congress leader later went on to recall Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Pakistan in December 2015.
“Have we forgotten that they said that talks and terrorism can’t go hand in hand? We haven’t forgotten that. But, at the same time we haven’t forgotten that Prime Minister Modi unannounced flew to home of Nawaz Sharif, when he was Prime Minister (of Pakistan). They embraced and expressed huge amount of friendship, etc. Why all that because you just want to score quick points and make yourself look like a statesman? I am sorry, the conditions don’t allow for a serious attempt to talk to Pakistan. If something had to be done, it should have been done at a much lower level – not at the level of the Foreign Minister,” Khurshid said.
“Only when conditions improve then a seriously analysed forward looking conversation might have happen. The country would have supported the government and so would the Opposition. This was a very unkind cut and I don’t think that this should have happened in the first place. Now their sense has prevailed perhaps a little bit late I think we should let things rest there,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy welcomed the government’s decision.
Swamy told ANI: “I welcome the government’s decision. You have to be tough with Pakistan. Of course you have to make friends around the world and bring them around to your point of view, but the fact is that there is no way you can have an agreement with Pakistan in the present structure of power there. You have to have a war and we have to prepare for it.”
The meeting between the two Foreign Ministers was scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York at the request of the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
However, back to back incidents of increased violence in Jammu and Kashmir and killing of security personnel has put off India from engaging with Pakistan government that continues to push terror and violence from its soil.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, its evil agenda stands exposed and the true face of the new Pakistan Prime Minister has been revealed.
Defence expert PK Sehgal said that in a democratic society “the will of the people is very important.”
“Yesterday, there were reports about huge atrocities committed on a dead body of a BSF soldier, followed by kidnappings and killing of two SPOs and one police constable. The people of the country are absolutely horrified and the decision of the government of India to interact in any manner whatsoever with Pakistan under these circumstances – not only they wanted these talks to be cancelled, but they are crying for revenge. In a democracy, when elections are due next year, it would have been folly on the part of the government to erode the popular will,” Sehgal said.
“Under these circumstances, the government had no option, but to do a rethink and also do something exceptional as far as Pakistan is concerned. It’s a clear warning to the people of Pakistan and to the government of Pakistan and to their Army and ISI that people of India are no longer willing to accept what they continue to do,” he added.