Twenty-four hours before she sat down to talk to her Pakistani counterpart, PM Manmohan Singh sent Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to share the government’s strategy with BJP leaders.
Rao conveyed to leaders of opposition Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj that New Delhi would not agree to discuss Kashmir if Pakistan doesn’t act against terrorist groups targeting India.
Her brief was to convey to Pakistan foreign secretary Salman Bashir “you act against terrorism, then we can talk Kashmir”, Rao told the BJP leaders.
The PM’s decision to send Rao to the BJP leaders follows the party’s conclave in Indore, which conveyed serious reservations about the resumption of talks with Pakistan.
Seeking to reassure the BJP, Rao told them that the talks would deal with terror alone. Rao conveyed the word from the PM that the principal agenda of the dialogue was terrorism, and not Kashmir.
Addressing a rally in Jammu on Thursday, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari termed the talks a “meaningless and futile exercise”.