Only talk

By Kalvakuntla Kavitha

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi often took swipes at the UPA government for its Pakistan policy. He criticised the Congress and blamed its soft attitude towards Pakistan for cross-border tension. Initially, though, the PM surprised his critics by extending an invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend his swearing-in. The bonhomie did not stop there.

Sharif and Modi also exchanged sarees for their ageing mothers. It was hailed as a landmark moment in the troubled history of the India-Pakistan relationship. After this, to many, “hardliner” Modi looked much more like a “soft” leader.

But even before completing 100 days as prime minister, the Modi-led BJP government has done a U-turn. Angry with the Pakistan high commissioner for meeting Kashmiri separatist leaders before foreign secretary level talks, the NDA government has cancelled all bilateral talks with Pakistan with a stern warning that it should either “talk to separatist leaders or the Indian government”. It is good that the Centre has realised that exchanging sarees and receiving bullets and bombs from Pakistan can’t go hand in hand.

The BJP government was also accused of facilitating journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik’s meeting with terrorist Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan. Even though Vaidik denied that either government played a role in setting up the meeting, he failed to provide a convincing answer. Before the dramatic developments earlier this week, there was no difference between the previous UPA government’s policy towards Pakistan and that of the BJP government. Stung by criticism, the Centre seems to have woken up.

Still, the sequence of events exposes the duplicity and confused foreign policy of the Modi administration. The government erred in going out of its way to please Pakistan. Did we not know that Pakistan is not a reliable and trustworthy neighbour? In the name of “peace talks”, Pakistan has been fooling successive Indian governments, foreign policy mandarins and the international community. Pakistan’s institutional support to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India is an established fact.

As a member of Parliament, I believe that the ritualistic drama of holding periodical “peace” talks with Pakistan must end. These talks have yielded nothing in the last few decades, and are unlikely to do so. My party, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, with its 11 members in Parliament, will support the strong stand taken by the prime minister against Pakistan. Like many Indians, we too feel that India’s generosity is being seen as weakness by Pakistan.

People who have made peace talks with Pakistan a business are understandably disappointed with the government’s sudden decision to put an end to dialogue. There have been hundreds of peace missions and candlelight vigils over decades. Sadly, none prevented Pakistan from allowing or worse, sponsoring anti-India terror campaigns. Pro-Pakistan elements and so-called peace-nicks who have made their careers out of

the dialogue with Pakistan are still urging the government to continue the talks, but this is not going to help the Indian people.

Also important is the role of Kashmiri separatists. As the word “separatists” suggests, they don’t want Kashmir to remain with India. They argue that there is no solution to the Kashmir issue within the framework of the Indian Constitution. Why should the government entertain such elements?

We must not forget that India had suspended peace talks with Pakistan in the past as well. After some time, both nations went back to the table with no results. Hopefully, this will not happen again. Within and outside Parliament, the TRS will back the Modi-led NDA government when it comes to the national interest. Instead of nitpicking, all political parties must back the government if the government wants to teach a fitting lesson to Pakistan.

Courtesy : The indianexpress