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Modi embraces Vajpayee's hug diplomacy

Opposition parties in India attack government; Kashmir hopes talks will lead to peace in the Valley

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Modi flies to Pakistan, goes to Sharif's house

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's stopover to Pakistan came as surprise to everyone but the opposition parties in India were not amused by it.

Congress claimed Modi's visit was "pre-arranged" while accusing his government of pursuing a Pakistan policy in "fits and starts and abrupt U-turns" even as Bharatiya Janta Party ally Shiv Sena and Vishwa Hindu Parishad asked if the visit would enable India get hold of Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

Questioning Modi's "unscheduled" visit, Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said his engagement with Pakistan was "frivolous, unpredictable, marked by fits and starts and abrupt U-turns".

He asked what assurances has the Prime Minister got on bringing back or punishing perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, especially Lakhvi and on dismantling terrorist syndicates in Pakistan acting against India. "We are very clear that the Prime Minister is there to promote only private business interests and not India's interest which should be supreme," "Diplomacy is serious, it must have gravitas and predictability. It cannot be frivolous, otherwise it will implode on Modi's face," he told reporters.

Shiv Sena and VHP wondered whether the visit would lead to effective action against cross-border terrorism as well as terror masterminds like Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi. "Will Dawood Ibrahim be given to India after today's meeting? If this happens, we welcome this visit," Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut said.

In Srinagar, Kashmiri separatists welcomed Modi's visit, with moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq terming it "a positive move" and hardline faction leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani saying they had no objection to improved relations between India and Pakistan.

"No right thinking persons shall have any reservation on it. However, the two countries have to address the Kashmir issue as per wishes and aspirations of the people if these endeavours are to succeed," Geelani said.

Pakistan declared Modi's brief visit a "purely goodwill" one and said they agreed to understand each other's concerns and continue holding peace talks for prosperity in the region. Briefing the media after the Nawaz-Modi meeting at the Jati Umrah residence of Sharif, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said: "PM Modi's visit to Lahore was not a planned one. It was organised on a short notice, after Mr Modi expressed his wish to come here en route to Delhi from Afghanistan."

"The meeting between the two premiers was held in a cordial atmosphere. Both premiers agreed to continue the peace process and work together for the purpose," he said.

He said the premiers of both countries want opening of new avenues of prosperity for its people. "Both premiers want restoration of mutual confidence between the two countries. There is a need of enhancing cooperation between India and Pakistan so that poverty and other issues of South Asia should be addressed," he said.

Chaudhry said both prime ministers agreed to enhance people-to-people contact. "They also agreed to take steps to improve the relations between the two countries and work together in this regard."


TWEET DECK
  • Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi
    Narendra Modi @narendramodi
  • That's like a statesman. Padosi se aise hi rishte hone chahiyen. ( in reply to Modi's tweet)
    Sushma Swaraj @SushmaSwaraj
  • The re-engagement with Pakistan is a good step & a very welcome development. However more than grand gestures we need consistency
    Omar Abdullah @abdullah_omar
  • Family matters. PM visits PM Sharif's home in a special gesture, where his grand-daughter's wedding is being held
    Vikas Swarup @MEAIndia
  • PM's misadventure to Lahore is worst manifestation of Spectecalisation of Diplomacy Last time Vajpayee went to Lahore Kargil!this time what?
    Manish Tewari @ManishTewari
  • I am waiting with bated breath for the opinion of BJP ally Shiv Sena on Modi Ji's Lahore stopover
    Sanjay Jha @JhaSanjay

First Published: Sat, December 26 2015. 00:44 IST
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