Congress, JD-U slam Modi for Pakistan diplomacy

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) The Congress and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Friday lambasted the BJP-led union government over its Pakistan policy, saying it was reflective of its “strategic confusion” and “flip-flop on Pakistan”.

The Congress said it was time for the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introspect and “rectify the wrongs it has committed”, adding that “the Congress will be ready to offer its advice in the matter”.

“(Prime Minister) Narendra Modi has dismantled the entire matrix of our strategic and diplomatic advantage over Pakistan,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here.

“The United States has lifted the moratorium on sale of F-16s fighter jets to Pakistan. China has blocked India’s effort to get the United Nations to declare Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a terrorist,” Surjewala said.

“Russia, the most trusted friend of India, has lifted an embargo on the sale of arms to Pakistan. They are also on the verge of starting a strategic relation with Pakistan,” the Congress leader added.

“Pakistan’s sudden move to call off talks with India is also reflective of how the Narendra Modi government’s flip-flop on Pakistan has allowed the neighbouring country to set the agenda of the dialogue process,” he said, reacting to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s statement on Thursday that talks between India and Pakistan were “suspended”.

The unilateral suspension of bilateral talks by Pakistan was a clear betrayal of the peace process as well as its commitment to resolve bilateral issues through peaceful negotiations, Surjewala said.

He said the National Democratic Alliance government’s Pakistan policy had baffled its most ardent admirers as well as security experts and diplomats alike.

“Efforts of the previous Congress government in isolating Pakistan internationally as the epicentre of terror have been undone because of poorly deliberated moves by Modi in engaging with the western neighbour,” Surjewala said.

The Congress leader said: “The new space available to Pakistan also tells us about the state of our relations with global powers like the US, Russia and China. In recent weeks, each one of them has been more than interested in engaging with Pakistan.”

“Modi ignored all pleas and invited Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team to visit Pathankot in Punjab to investigate the January 2 terror attack at the Indian Air Force base there, which originated from Pakistani soil.”

Former diplomat and now JD-U MP Pavan K. Varma called Modi’s Pakistan policy as “strategic confusion”.

“The pathetic display of strategic confusion by the BJP government towards Pakistan compromises both our national security and international image,” Varma tweeted.

Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha tweeted: “Pakistan adding insult to injury; they have the audacity to ‘suspend dialogue’ after terror attacks on India. Shame on BJP and Modi.”

Comparing Modi to English cricketer Ben Stokes, who conceded four sixes on consecutive balls in the T20 World Cup final against West Indies, Jha posted: “Modi Ji is the Ben Stokes (apologies, my friend) on India’s foreign policy, especially with reference to Pakistan.”

“The ultimate laughing stock are those lazy experts who called his 56 inch utterances as ‘Modi Doctrine’ on foreign policy,” Jha posted on social media.

“All myopic thinking heads who sang paeans on Modi’s ‘personal chemistry’ diplomacy are also part of Comedy Central,” he added.

Jha said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Modi government outsources its foreign policy.

“Don’t be surprised if this clownish Modi Sarkar, that has caused India the greatest embarrassment post-1947, outsources foreign policy,” Jha said.

Surjewala said that despite repeated warnings by the Congress, the government took a U-turn on the distinction between state and non-state actors in Pakistan who are engaged in anti-India terror activities.

“Naturally, the JIT returned to Pakistan and preposterously accused India of orchestrating the Pathankot attack,” he said.

“As a responsible opposition party, we believe, this moment allows the government an opportunity to pause, reflect, recalibrate and indulge in course correction. We would like to engage and offer support to the ruling dispensation, if they deem necessary,” Surjewala said.

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