India’s opposition party Congress on Monday accused the ruling NDA of making a “fundamental departure” in the government’s position on Indo-Pak ties and of ‘disrespecting’ Parliament by holding secret NSA-level talks with Pakistan in Bangkok Sunday.
In what was seen as a sudden breakthrough, National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan held talks in Bangkok on a wide gamut of bilateral ties including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir, and agreed to take forward the “constructive” engagement.
Raising the issue at the start of Rajya Sabha proceedings, Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded that the Prime Minister should clarify on India’s engagement with Pakistan and take Parliament and the Opposition into confidence about the direction and the roadmap that the government has in mind.
Sharma said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is now going to Islamabad adding “this is disrespect to Parliament, that Parliament is not informed as to what developments are taking place.”
“The fact that the Foreign Secretaries have accompanied the National Security Advisors means that the scope and the agenda has been expanded. Therefore, we would demand government takes Parliament into confidence and the Prime Minister shares as to what has been the understanding reached between him and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the government now to move forward,” he said.
Responding to him, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi reaffirmed government’s strong commitment to national interest and said, “on the issue raised by you, I assure you that on December 10 the External Affairs Minister will come to the House and provide all information on the issues that you have raised.”
On Sunday, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Janjua discussed peace and security and other issues including tranquility along the LoC.
After the talks, the two sides issued a joint press statement which said, “Pursuant to the meeting of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in Paris, the NSAs, accompanied by the Foreign secretaries, met in Bangkok Sunday.
The meeting was seen as a major breakthrough given that the two sides had engaged in mutual blame game earlier in September this year resulting in the cancellation of NSA-level talks and stalling the interaction process as was agreed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in July in Russian city of Ufa.
Sushma to meet Sharif, Aziz
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Islamabad on Tuesday for a two-day visit during which she will hold talks with her counterpart in Pakistan, Sartaj Aziz and attend a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted on Monday.
The External Affairs Minister will call on Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and meet his adviser on foreign
affairs, Aziz on the sidelines of the ‘Heart of Asia’ regional conference in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Her visit comes three years after former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna travelled to Islamabad in 2012 when the countries had inked the visa liberalisation pact.