‘Talks with Pakistan are unlikely to be held soon’: BJP
On the Indian diaspora’s demand to allow dual citizenship, Chauthaiwale said it is an “intricate issue” that is unlikely to be conceded in the near future, but added that by the 2024 election, Indian citizens abroad would be extended the facility of proxy voting.Updated: Jun 28, 2019 22:02 IST
A senior functionary of the ruling BJP said on Friday its government is under no ideological compulsion to hold talks with Pakistan, recalling external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s formulation this week of the neighbouring country’s “large-scale industry of terrorism”.
Vijay Chauthaiwale, head of the party’s foreign affairs cell, told a select audience of academics, diplomats and policy experts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) that, as reflected in the minister’s remarks, talks with Pakistan are unlikely to be held anytime soon.
Jaishankar, who briefly joined a session at the UK-India Week in Buckinghamshire by video-link from New Delhi, said Pakistan is prevented from behaving like a normal neighbour due to the existence on its territory of what he called a “large-scale industry of terrorism”.
Chauthaiwale, who dwelt on several issues during the IISS interaction, from an analysis of the recent election to approach on foreign policy issues, said the February airstrike in Balakot “definitely had a favourable impact” on the party’s prospects during the election.
However, he told a Pakistan-origin academic: “There is no ideological compulsion for us to talk to Pakistan, unlike our political rivals. If we do it (hold talks), it will happen only if it is in our national interests. We want peace”.
On the way forward on Commonwealth, whose last heads of government meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in London in April 2018, Chauthaiwale said the organisation of mostly former members of the British empire needs to reinvent itself.
“It should be outcomes-driven rather than by emotion”, he said, reflecting dwindling interest in the group in recent years. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had made similar remarks during his interaction at IISS in August last.
On the Indian diaspora’s demand to allow dual citizenship, Chauthaiwale said it is an “intricate issue” that is unlikely to be conceded in the near future, but added that by the 2024 election, Indian citizens abroad would be extended the facility of proxy voting.
He agreed with a questioner that the BJP is weak in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, but remarked that the party will grow there as a result of what he called “mergers and acquisitions…you have seen some of them recently.”
He was accompanied by Shishir Bajoria of the BJP’s West Bengal unit, who highlighted the gains the party made in the east and the north-east in the election, and exuded confidence of further gains, particularly in the forthcoming assembly elections in West Bengal.
First Published: Jun 28, 2019 22:02 IST