The Congress criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Friday meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Russia even as the BJP said the bilateral talks were a breakthrough in improving ties between the two countries.
The Congress questioned the "circumstances" for the meeting to be called in Russia's Ufa. "Pakistan killed an Indian soldier during ceasefire (on the LoC)... and Prime Minister Modi is meeting Nawaz Sharif... this is the government that made tall claims that they will teach Pakistan a lesson," Congress leader Meem Afzaal said.
"Today (Friday), the PM is meeting Nawaz Sharif without any reason... we would like to know what were the circumstances that Modi had to invite Sharif for the meeting," he said.
The prime ministers of nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India agreed at a rare meeting on Friday to cooperate on eliminating terrorism in the region. PM Modi also accepted his Pakistani counterpart's invitation to attend the Saarc summit to be held in Islamabad next year.
Both sides also agreed to find ways to expedite the 2008 Mumbai attacks trial.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah sounded cautiously optimistic about the talks, dubbing it a "good first step".
Resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue is a welcome development. I only hope that this time it is sustained over the long term for results 1/n
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) July 10, 2015
We've seen too many breaks in this process to allow today's announcements to excite us much here in the valley but it's a good 1st step 2/n— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) July 10, 2015
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), however, alleged that Modi lays emphasis on "photo opportunity" and uploading pictures on Twitter rather than respecting what India needs. "The other day somebody from Pakistan was threatening us with nuclear war. A jawan has lost his life. And in this regard, just a good bilateral talk between the leaders would not reflect affective message to the country," he said.
The BJP hit back at the criticism, saying "Pakistan has accepted our definition of terrorism" and it proved the talks were successful.
"The meeting was a breakthrough, the reason for this is very clear as for the first time Pakistan has accepted our definition of terrorism," BJP leader MJ Akbar said.
"For the first time Pakistan has accepted to combat terrorism in 'all its forms'," he said, while pointing out that Pakistan had, for long, tried to play a nuanced game on this subject by trying to differentiate between good terrorism and bad terrorism; for India terrorism was always an unmitigated evil.
Akbar also pointed out that both sides have agreed to expedite the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case trial and will exchange voice samples of the accused.
As many as 166 people were killed in a terror attack carried by 10 Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai on November 26-28, 2008.
"Pakistan has accepted the voice samples, which are the basis of our case. They were the evidence we provided, it was visible to the whole world. Now that Pakistan has accepted this, there is glimmer of light in the relationship between the two countries," Akbar added.
The BJP leader also stressed on Modi's stated position on wanting to improve India's ties with all its neighbours so that the region can go forward on the path of prosperity.
"...but this prosperity requires peace and this common prosperity is only possible if all the countries take an united view on terrorism," Akbar said.
The joint statement is a step forward towards normalising bilateral relations, however the future outcome will be keenly watched.— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) July 10, 2015
I congratulate the Prime Minister Shri @NarendraModi for his statesman like approach and engaging Pakistan on diplomatic level.— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) July 10, 2015