PM Must Explain ‘Secret’ India-Pak NSA Talks, Opposition Says in Parliament
NEW DELHI: A secret meeting in Bangkok between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan, which marked a dramatic turn in ties, has sparked a political row.
In Parliament, the Congress has demanded a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the National Security Advisor (NSA) talks on Sunday and their outcome.
“Parliament should have been informed and still should be informed regarding the whole matter,” Congress parliamentarian and former external affairs minister Anand Sharma said, saying the government’s decision to hold NSA talks was disrespect to Parliament.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj would make a statement on Thursday. Ms Swaraj will travel to Pakistan tomorrow for an Afghan conference, the foreign ministry has said.
Opposition parties like the Congress have called the meeting a betrayal.”It’s a grand betrayal. It’s a betrayal of everything that this government has ostensibly, publicly espoused,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.
“Why is it so secret? There are so many flip flops regarding talks,” said Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress.The Bangkok meeting was green-flagged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif when they met and chatted in Paris two weeks ago.
In a four-hour meeting, the two National Security Advisers (NSAs) held discussions on security, terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir.Sources say PM Modi took initiative on the NSA meeting, which was one of the decisions taken when he met Mr Sharif in Ufa, Russia. The talks, they say, could lay the groundwork for PM Modi’s visit to Pakistan next year for the SAARC summit.
Earlier this year, the NSA talks fell through at the last minute with India objecting strongly to a proposed meeting between Pakistan’s then Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz and Kashmiri separatists. There were disagreements about the agenda of the meeting too – with Pakistan pushing for an “open agenda” and India maintaining the talks should be confined to terrorism.