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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Cong flays govt over cancellation of Indo-Pak talks

PTI  New Delhi, August 19, 2014
First Published: 14:53 IST(19/8/2014) | Last Updated: 16:28 IST(19/8/2014)

Congress on Tuesday kept up the attack on NDA over cancellation of Indo-Pak talks even as the government and BJP said the neighbouring country cannot "walk with separatism and talk with Government of India" simultaneously.

Hitting out at the government, Congress leader Manish Tewari said it was in a "sonorous slumber" over the Pakistan issue.

He said the government has "completely walked itself into a corner" on the Pakistan policy and termed the talks between Hurriyat leaders and Pakistan a "ritual", which the neighbouring country always follows before any interaction between the two nations.

"So they first agreed to talk to Pakistan, that also in Islamabad, notwithstanding all this background. The government was in sonorous slumber and when there was a protest, it woke up and indulged in a knee-jerk reaction.

"Now with the separatists challenging the government and the Pakistan high commissioner cocking a dare at the government that they are still going ahead with their proposed interactions, what does government of India do the next. What is the strategy of the Government of India towards Pakistan," Tewari asked.

Justifying the move, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The point is very simple. Either Pakistan should talk to the Government of India or they should talk to separatists.

They chose to talk to the separatists first inspite of clearly being told that if this persistence is there, it will be difficult to pursue the dialogue."

He rued that despite this having been made clear from the Indian side, "yet the Pakistani high commissioner called them. It was not fair. The point is simple. We have always said that you can change your friends but not your neighbours.

"But who is in control of Pakistan today is a problem. We have different voices there. Let a clarity emerge as to what is the level of preparation and understanding at the level of Pakistan to have the dialogue at the level of secretaries."

Angered by Pakistan's consultations with Kashmiri separatists, India had on Monday cancelled the talks scheduled to be held in Islamabad on August 25.

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Pakistan should understand that policies of India with regard to terrorism and separatism are same but "there has been a change of government, leadership and intention (Nijam, Netritva and Neeyat) here".


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