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.