NSA talks: Churn within BJP; Ally PDP hopeful

RSTV Bureau
Yashwant_Sinha

FILE: Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.

Ahead of the much anticipated talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan, there is a seeming discontent within the ruling party, while their ally in Jammu and Kashmir government expressed positive outcome from the dialogue. The NSA-level talks between Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz is scheduled to be held on August 23 in New Delhi.

With nearly a week left, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha stirred the speculation of differences within the BJP by terming the impending talks as “dialogue of the deaf”.

“This has been a clearly stated policy of BJP that we will not countenance terror…as terror and talks do not go together. Therefore, in the 10 years rule of UPA, we had criticised Manmohan Singh personally and the UPA government for departing from BJP’s position,” Mr Sinha said on Monday.

“Therfore, these talks at the NSA level will be a dialogue of the deaf. There will be no outcome we will be exactly where we are before the talks,” he added.

The former Union External Affairs minister during Vajpayee-led NDA government also accused his own party of “deviating” from its stated policy regarding talks with Pakistan.

“The point I am making it when we decided that there will be a meeting between Nawaz Sharif and our Prime Minister at Ufa and that was to be followed by talks at the NSA-level… earlier our Foreign Secretary had visited Islamabad to do the spadework. Clearly, we have departed from the stated policy of BJP regarding dialogue with Pakistan,” the former Union minister added in his interview to a New Delhi based TV news channel.

Pak-Sartaj-Aziz

FILE: Pakistan PM’s advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad. Photo – PTI

Mr Sinha also cited the terror attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur, which were executed by the alleged Pakistan-based assailants besides recurrent ceasefire violation by the Pakistan forces. One terrorist, Mohammed Naved, was also arrested after the fidayeen attack in Udhampur, Jammu.

“Based on the experience of dealing with Pakistan during the six years of Vajpaye rule, we came to the conclusion that terror and talks cannot go together,” said the former Union External Affairs minister firmly adding that the “time was never unfruitable, as even today”.

Even as the senior BJP leader questioned the talks, the party ally in the Jammu and Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) threw its weight behind the scheduled talks.

Senior PDP leader Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari opined that he was optimistic with the scheduled meeting between NSAs of India and Pakistan on August 23. According to him, the talks would “open doors for a sustained and meaningful dialogue” between the two countries so that the “border residents get rid of perpetuating violence and bloodshed”.

Bukhari also doubles up as the PWD minister in Jammu & Kashmir government which is run by the coalition between the BJP and PDP.

“Tensions between the neighbouring countries would ease if there is a cool down at the border,” Mr Bukhari added while taking stock in Balakote sector in Poonch district, which has been badly hit by the continuous firing and shelling by Pakistan forces since last week.

(With inputs from the PTI)