Congress on Sunday termed the secret meeting of National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok as a “grand betrayal” of the Modi government and reflection of “flip-flops” over its Pakistan policy.
“It’s a grand betrayal. It’s a betrayal of everything that this government has ostensibly, publicly espoused,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.
Asked about the meeting between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Janjua in Bangkok, Tewari said this is absolutely “crowning glory” after two sides had engaged in mutual blame game earlier resulting in cancellation of talks.
“If you look at the track record of this government over the past 18 months, their Pakistan policy has been an extravaganza, a somersault, flip-flops and 180-degree U-turns and this is absolutely the crowning glory,” he said.
After the verbal calisthenics that one witnessed between the foreign minister and the then NSA of Pakistan Sartaz Aziz, now suddenly without any provocation, without explaining
to the country as to what has changed between September, 2015 and December 2015, the government decides to re-engage and that too in Bangkok, he said.
Tewari said if the talks were so essential, government should have explained the rationale behind it and held it either in New Delhi or Islamabad.
“If you felt that engagement with Pakistan is so essential, then the correct way to do it would be to stand up, explain the rationale and say that we have been making mistake after mistake in calling off the engagement with Pakistan and therefore, we are now going to persist with the broad spectrum engagement ,” he said.
On its part, BJP supported the NSA talks saying that it was in the spirit of Ufa statement by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif.
“The spirit of the Ufa statement is exactly what we are seeing in play here…we have seen that the last two opportunities have not been translated into direct talks. The first between the foreign secretaries and the second one being just after Ufa between the NSAs, that got cancelled out. So, I think we need to see it in that context,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.
Kohli said the talks were held in Bangkok to avoid the media attention and the excitement that Indo-Pak relationship generates.
“Indo-Pak relationship is subject to an ultra-microscopic approach in terms of the excitement it generates within a whole segment, including the media so perhaps that may be a reason,” he said.
Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the talks, saying holding them away from media glare can lead to “quiet progress”.
“Good to see India and Pakistan resume the dialogue process,” Omar wrote on microblogging site twitter.
“Perhaps this is the way quiet progress will be made away from each other’s capitals and the glare of media driven expectations,” he tweeted.