Government's decision to cancel Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan on Monday was dismissed by Congress as "knee-jerk diplomacy" while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defended it as a "bold" move even as Kashmiri separatists and People's Democratic Party (PDP) expressed disappointment.
The Narendra Modi government was also accused by Congress of adopting an "opaque and incoherent" foreign policy and sending "confusing" signals in its dealings with Pakistan. "This knee-jerk diplomacy shows that they do not have any clear policy towards Pakistan," Congress leader Manish Tewari said.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma questioned the Prime Minister for agreeing to hold talks in the first place in the face of "constant provocation" from Pakistan. He dubbed the government's move as "mere theatrics".
"What prompted the Narendra Modi government to decide to hold Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan when there was constant provocation from that side through constant ceasefire violations," Sharma asked.
"The dialogue was suspended long back. Why was it restored?...Why was India prepared to go to the negotiating table? The government has been following a knee-jerk policy in foreign affairs," he added. Another Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar described the government's decision as "childish", adding it will now be difficult to resume Indo-Pak talks.
BJP, however, welcomed the government's move saying India wants good ties with its neighbours but will not allow any interference in its internal matters.
"BJP welcomes the decision on cancellation of talks. Though India wants good relations with its neighbours, it will not tolerate any interference in its internal affairs by anyone," its National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said,
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the decision was a "highly negative" development that casts a shadow on the atmosphere of reconciliation generated by the invitation to Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif for the swearing-in ceremony of Modi as prime minister on May 26.
Separatists from Kashmir expressed surprise, saying the decision was "unfortunate" and that it would only ensure that the stand-off between the two countries continued.
Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq told PTI that the decision was "very very unfortunate as we expected that the process of dialogue had opened and both the governments in India and Pakistan will work together for resolving the Kashmir issue".