Noting that Pakistan had earlier held talks with separatists before its scheduled meetings with India, BJP President Amit Shah on Tuesday said it is for the first time the Government has taken a firm stand asking Pakistan to choose between talks with either India or separatists. "This has not happened with Pakistan for the first time.
Whenever there had been talks between Pakistan and India, it had also held talks with separatists. But this time there is BJP government. We are proud that the Government immediately decided that either Pakistan should hold talks with India or separatists," he said while addressing party workers here. Shah said Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan was scheduled for August 25, but yesterday Pakistan High Commissioner held talks with "divisive elements" and separatist leaders.
On inviting heads of SAARC nations including Pakistan for the oath-taking ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah said, "we want to take everyone along, but not at the cost of national interest and pride. This message has reached across the world." Acting tough, India has called off Foreign Secretary—level talks with Pakistan next week and conveyed a blunt message that it was interfering in India's internal affairs by holding talks with Kashmiri separatists, which is "unacceptable." Upset that despite being firmly told by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh that Pakistan has to "choose between India or separatists for talks," its top envoy here went ahead with the meeting.
India had said, "Therefore, under the present circumstances,...no useful purpose will be served by the Indian Foreign Secretary going to Islamabad next week." The BJP president said the previous UPA government did an agreement at World Trade Organisation, but if it was pushed forward then produce of the farmers could not have been purchased at an appropriate rate. "We accept the role of WTO, but will not make any agreement which adversely affect the interest of farmers," Shah said.