Government's decision to call off Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan today evoked strong reactions from Congress which accused it of adopting "opaque and incoherent" foreign policy while BJP termed it as a "bold" move. Dismissing the Narendra Modi government's move as mere "theatrics", Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said it is sending "confusing" signals vis-a-vis India's polcy in dealing with Pakistan.
He questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for agreeing to hold talks in the first place in the face of "constant provocation" from Pakistan. 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.
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 National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said "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". He said Modi had taken the initiative of inviting Sharif at his swearing-in and wanted good ties with them but Pakistan "has not kept its promise of not interfering in India's internal matters".
Pakistan is not sending good signals by meeting separatist leaders in India, he said, adding the step has led to the government taking the "bold" step of cancelling the Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two countries." Sharma, however said "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."
Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh said Modi government should know that there are "no short-cuts to diplomatic processes". "The BJP-led government has learnt it in a hard way that there are no short-cuts to diplomatic processes particularly those having a long history," Singh said.