Criticising the Narendra Modi government’s policy towards Pakistan and China, Congress said on Sunday that diplomacy is not a “take away joint” and asked the Prime Minister to take the country into confidence before working on any “strategic alliance” with the US.
Talking about Modi’s foreign policy, Congress spokesperson and former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said it is too early to pass a judgement one way or the other but “won’t give high marks right away”.
“If you take handling of Pakistan, I think it is very clear that his impression was he would just say something and Pakistan would do it. That is not how diplomacy works” he said.
“Pakistan is a difficult country. And Pakistan has given us lot of troubles and to expect that Pakistan will just click its heels and say. . . is not something you should have expected. You should have taken far greater care, far greater sense of planning,” Khurshid told Karan Thapar on his show ‘Nothing but the Truth’ on Headlines Today.
India had called off the Foreign Secretary level meeting with Pakistan after their High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit met with Kashmiri separatist leaders even though the Modi government had warned him against it.
Khurshid said he was amazed that the government did not think it would work out in this manner. “Should they have not anticipated? Should they not have considered that this is the likely move that Pakistan will make? We can’t be caught off guard and then pretend that we are brave,” he said.
The former minister said Modi thinks it is like going to a “take away joint and think that if you just put the cash there, you will get what you want”.
“It does not happen like that in diplomacy. Diplomacy is a far more complicated thing. Diplomacy is a far more strenuous thing and just to think that I can win an election in India and can win everybody across the globe… not so easy,” Khurshid said.
Khurshid also criticised the handling of the issue of Chinese incursions but claimed credit for the investment that is coming in from China and Japan.
“Of course I am taking credit for the entire foreign policy of our country and my only worry is that whatever we have developed for over 10 years should not be dismantled by an over aspiring Prime Minister,” he said.
Told by Thapar that Modi, in a recent interview ahead of his visit to the US later this month, had said India and American can establish strategic alliance, Khurshid said Congress leadership has not commented on it yet.
“But very clearly we don’t believe in alliances. We believe in partnerships. And alliance with any country takes us away from standard Indian position that we deal with countries on merit, that we deal with countries as partners and we do not make alliances. We do not make alliances. Now what he means by alliances, he will have to tell the country. . .”
Asked if there can’t be a change in policy, Khurshid said it can be. “First he should tell the country that I am making a change and then if your country supports the change, please go ahead. But don’t just quietly say we are changing the policy,” he said.