War of words escalate after cancellation of NSA talks

RSTV Bureau

India  Pakistan NSAThe cancellation of meeting between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan has led to an escalation of bitter exchange between the two sides. While the ruling BJP claimed of “exposing” Pakistan on the issue of terror, the latter accused the incumbent of “sabotaging” the NSA-level talks.

“Our government has further exposed Pakistan’s stand on terror in the global arena…. The government has done the right diplomacy and what used to be common practice in the past has today become ‘mission impossible’,” BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra told the news agency in Delhi.

The BJP, though termed Pakistan’s decision to call off talks as extremely unfortunate, it accused that Pakistan knew that it would stand “exposed before the world if it discussed terror”.

“It (Pakistan) knew very well that it would not be able to face the truth that India would have provided to Pakistan on terror,” the BJP spokesperson added.

The government of India had maintained a steadfast stand to confine the agenda of talks to the issue of terrorism, as chalked out in Ufa after the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. On the other hand Pakistan was pushing to include the Kashmir ‘issue’ in the agenda of talks.

Before the cancellation, the talks scheduled for August 23 and 24, had hit the roadblock after Pakistan High Commission invited Kashmiri separatist leaders to hold the talks with Sartaj Aziz, ahead of his meeting with NSA Ajit Doval. The move was strongly opposed by India calling for “No third party” involvement between India and Pakistan.

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FILE: File photo of Pakistan High Commissioner (L) meeting with Kashmiri Seperatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi. Photo – PTI

Lending reaction to the cancellation of NSA-level talks, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said that India should not engage with Pakistan unless it is “absolutely certain” about the outcome.

“I have been a long time believer in the fact that we should not engage with Pakistan unless we are absolutely certain of the outcome. And when I am talking of outcome, I mean every comma, every full stop, the statement, all the theatrics, everything,” said Yashwant Sinha, who also served as the Union External Affairs Minister in the Vajpayee government cabinet.

“They are misinterpreting Ufa. I am quite clear. I am entirely with the Government of India. And even if any absolutely impartial observer were to look at it, the Ufa agreement, the text clearly says that the NSA-level talks will be about all aspects of terrorism,” the senior BJP leader added accusing the Pakistan establishment of backtracking on the Ufa agreement.

Earlier last week, Sinha had stirred the speculation on NSA-talks even going to the extent of terming the scheduled talks as “dialogue of the deaf”.

On the other side, Pakistan establishment accused the Narendra Modi government of “sabotaging” the NSA-level talks, terming government of India’s stand as “negative attitude”.

Speaking on the state-run Radio Pakistan, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif claimed that Pakistan was “serious” in holding the talks with India. Asif went on to say that the “pre-conditions put by India for the talks were not acceptable to Pakistan”.

(With inputs from the PTI)