Govt talks Kashmir at Bangkok with Pak, opposition terms it as flipflop

Adjournment motions both in lok sabha, rajya sabha

GN Bureau | December 7, 2015

Like cricket matches, India and Pakistan shook hands in neutral Bangkok. But the opposition is not amused. The Congress has accused the government of making a “fundamental departure” in India’s stand on ties with Pakistan without informing Parliament.

The issue came up a day after national security adviser AK Doval met his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retd) Nasir Khan Janjua in Bangkok and discussed “peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and other issues including tranquility along the LoC.”

“The Prime Minister must inform the house about the developments and the reasons which have caused the government to make a fundamental departure from the position as was conveyed to this house in the last session with regard to India’s engagement with Pakistan,” Congress MP Anand Sharma said.

Adjournment motions were moved in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seeking a debate on the crucial matter.

The government said a statement could not be given immediately as external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was busy with visiting Mauritius president Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

“We have taken note of the concerns of the house and will convey to the external affairs minister and a response will be given to the House at the earliest,” parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu said in the Lok Sabha.

Opposition parties called it a “flipflop” in the government’s Pakistan policy, as previous talks had collapsed over India’s refusal to include Kashmir in the agenda.

“It’s a grand betrayal. It’s a betrayal of everything that this government has ostensibly, publicly espoused,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.

 Ruling front ally Shiv Sena joined in the criticism saying there was no point in holding talks with Pakistan.

Responding to the BJP’s claim that Pakistan was forced to talk terror, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah asked, “If Pakistan was ‘made to talk terror’, was India also ‘made to talk Kashmir’ since Jammu and Kashmir had found no mention in Ufa.”

But state chief minister and ally Mufti Mohammad Sayeed welcomed the talks. “A process of confidence building measures has started,” he said.

It has been a flip, flop, flip for prime minister Narendra Modi whose aggressive policy on not discussing Kashmir issue seems to have been buried with the acceptance of Jammu and Kashmir to be placed on the table.

The statement issued after the Bangkok meeting is brief but significant: Pursuant to the meetings of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in Paris, the National Security Advisers, accompanied by the Foreign Secretaries, met in Bangkok today.

Discussions were held in a candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere.

They were guided by the vision of the two leaders for a peaceful stable and prosperous South Asia.

Discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues, including tranquility along the LoC.

It was agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement.



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