‘Better late than never’: Cong on Swaraj-Qureshi talks cancellation

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New Delhi: The Congress on Friday sought to take credit for the government’s decision to call off the meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

The BJP, however, maintained that it has been the government’s stand that talks and terror cannot go together and asserted that the Indian Army will give Pakistan a befitting reply.

Barely 24 hours after agreeing to it, the government Friday called off a meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in New York, citing the brutal killings of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad releasing postage stamps “glorifying” Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani.

Asked about the decision to call off the talks, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi told a press briefing, “Better late than never. And sometimes credit should also be given to us.”

BJP spokesperson Bizay Sonkar Shastri said it has been the central government’s stand that talks and terror cannot go together.

He said that the Pakistan army, its spy agency ISI and Kashmir-based separatists backed by them appear to be working to vitiate the atmosphere.

Earlier, the Congress had slammed the government for agreeing for the meeting between Swaraj and Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session next week.

“It is laughable to talk of government’s Pakistan policy. When the government of India talks about policy on Pakistan, it sounds like an oxymoron, a contradiction. Simply because there is no policy which we can point out.

“The great policy which Mr Modi’s government has perfected is the policy of ‘No Pak policy’. It is knee-jerk, it is episodic, it is momentary, it is transient, it depends on the mood of the moment,” Singhvi said.

Reacting to the development, Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Calling off meeting between India & Pak’s FMs is bad news for J&K. Both countries owe it to people of state & country to carry on dialogue rather than talking through media. In spite of a historic mandate, it is media & not NDA leadership that is setting the agenda.”

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said, “Has our BJP government decided to accept my advice not to talk or interact with Pak UN? If so it shows democratic flexibility.” PTI