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Congress: Government fell prey to Pakistan’s designs on NSA talks

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New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday accused the government of not preparing adequately on the issue of the NSA talks and falling prey to Pakistan’s designs. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters here that the Narendra Modi government had not done proper hard-nosed groundwork and its approach lacked focus. He said Pakistan was provided an opportunity to wriggle out of discussing the serious issue of terrorism. “It is unfortunate that the government, due to its less preparation and its not taking concrete steps, allowed Pakistan to act on its designs and fell prey. It (the government) should have been alert. They should have had prior information and should have prepared a plan so that Pakistan does not succeed,” Singhvi said. He said the vicissitudes of India’s domestic policy should not be allowed to make a mockery of India’s status in the world due to its proud democratic status and its humongous economic power.

“We deprecate the ham-handed way in which the several aspects have been handled by the government,” Singhvi said. The Congress leader said “people scoring debating points across the border” after the NSA-level talks were called off by Pakistan was “hardly a good sight for the solidity of Indian foreign policy, which is based on coherence, continuity and consistency”. “I think the government needs to get its house in order. It needs to make sure that either the multiplicity is eliminated or complete unity and coherence are introduced in all those multiple agencies to speak through one agency and in one voice,” he said. He also slammed Pakistan and said the country wants to run away from all issues relating to terrorism and does not want exchange of information particularly on those serious matters on which it can be cornered. He said Pakistan had in the past also tried to divert from the agenda by raising new issues. “Pakistan’s goal is very clear. We condemn it,” Singhvi said. Apparently referring to the government laying red lines including its advice against any meeting with Hurriyat leaders, Singhvi said such lines should be drawn with care and with clear understanding of the exit route if there is a violation. The August 23-24 NSA talks between India and Pakistan were finally called off on Saturday, with both sides sticking to their positions.

In a late night statement on Saturday, the Pakistan Foreign Office said it has “come to the conclusion that the NSA talks would not serve any purpose if conducted on the basis of the two conditions” laid down by India. Pakistan’s statement came in response to India asserting that Pakistani National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz was welcome for talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval but Islamabad must abide by the agenda agreed to at Ufa and only discuss terrorism. India also said there was no space for the Hurriyat in the talks, as per the Simla Agreement inked between both countries. The Pakistan High Commission had invited Hurriyat leaders for a reception on August 23 and Aziz had planned to separately meet Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

(IANS)

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Fight Against Terrorism: Iran, Pakistan Agree To Set Up Joint Border ‘Reaction Force’

Stressing that "no third country" could harm Iran-Pakistan ties, an apparent reference to the United States, Rohani said Tehran was ready to boost trade and business ties with Islamabad.

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Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left) and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reviewing an honor guard in Tehran on April 22. RFERL

Iranian President Hassan Rohani and visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan have agreed to set up a joint border “reaction force” to counter terrorism, Iranian state media reported.

“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rohani was quoted as saying on April 22 during a joint press conference with Khan, who was officially welcomed in the Iranian capital earlier in the day.

The announcement comes following tensions between the two countries who have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

“Pakistan will not allow any militant group to operate” from its soil, Khan said at the press conference while adding that the problem of terrorism was “increasing differences” between both countries.

“So it was very important for me to come here and come with our security chief that we resolve this issue,” Khan said.

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The visit comes a day after Pakistan asked Iran to take action against terrorist groups believed to be behind the killing of 14 Pakistani soldiers earlier this month. Pixabay

Citing a militant attack on Pakistani security forces in Baluchistan on April 18, he said, Pakistan’s security chief will be meeting his Iranian counterpart on April 22 to discuss how both countries can cooperate in not allowing their soil to be used by militant groups.

Stressing that “no third country” could harm Iran-Pakistan ties, an apparent reference to the United States, Rohani said Tehran was ready to boost trade and business ties with Islamabad.

For his part, Khan said his visit to Tehran aimed to “find ways to increase trade and cooperation…in energy and other areas,” noting that two-way trade was “very limited.”

Khan arrived in Iran on April 21 on his first official visit to the Islamic republic for talks set to focus on strengthening bilateral ties, “fighting terrorism, and safeguarding borders,” Iranian state media reported.

The two countries have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

The two-day trip started with a stopover in the holy city of Mashhad, where Khan visited the shrine of Imam Reza, who is revered by Shi’ite Muslims.

The visit comes a day after Pakistan asked Iran to take action against terrorist groups believed to be behind the killing of 14 Pakistani soldiers earlier this month.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on April 20 that 15 gunmen wearing military uniforms ambushed a bus in southwestern Balochistan Province on April 18, killing 14 Pakistani Army personnel.

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“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rohani was quoted as saying on April 22 during a joint press conference with Khan, who was officially welcomed in the Iranian capital earlier in the day. Pixabay

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a letter to the Iranian government that the assailants came from an alliance of three Baluch terrorist organizations based in Iran.

Qureshi told reporters that Khan would take up the matter with Iranian authorities.

Earlier this year, Iran called on Pakistan to take action against a militant group behind a deadly attack on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Also Read: Measles Could be Completely Wiped Off, Instead it’s Making a Comeback

Twenty-seven IRGC members were killed in the February suicide car bombing near the border with Pakistan.

The Sunni Muslim extremist group Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the attack in southeastern Iran. (RFERL)