Congress said the Modi government “messed it up” while dealing with Pakistan on the Pathankot attack probe and playing into its hands on the issue even as BJP countered the charge, saying India’s stand on all bilateral issues and talks is clear and has been appreciated.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “I think the government has messed it up completely. There cannot be a bigger mess-up. Pakistanis are to blame…there is no doubt, but the Indian government, unfortunately, is playing into their hands.”
Pakistan will continue to be a “rogue state and I don’t think we can expect anything better from it”, he said.
Singhvi said India “legitimised” Pakistan by inviting its team to Pathankot as such an invitation had never been given in the last 70 years.
“Having legitimised them, we got a slap on our face by them going back, debunking us, decrying us, criticising us. We have equated terror perpetrators with victims.
“It is adding insult to injury…They and not us are the ones who suspended the peace process after doing nothing about Pathankot,” he said.
Countering the charges, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, “After the Pathankot terror attack, it was the Pakistan Prime Minister who said action is being taken and it is in that context that the JIT came here and now Indian team is supposed to go there on a reciprocal basis.”
He said that “now it is upto Pakistan to show how serious it is about its commitment and combating terrorism” and added the world is concerned over what is happening with regard to terrorism and in Pakistan.
“India’s position has been acknowledged, recognised and even appreciated. The Pakistan Prime Minister has made a commitment.
“So if Pakistan reneges despite itself facing terrorist attacks, then it will show that in Pakistan the old policy of ‘good terrorist’ and ‘bad terrorist’ continues and everyone is taking note of it,” Kohli said.
He said the Indian government’s policy is very clear and the three principles under Prime Minister Modi are — all talks should be bilateral, everything should be resolved peacefully, and terror and talks would not go together.
The BJP leader said a lot has changed on the border. “When there is bombardment or mortar attacks, the army does not need to take permission and it responds,” he said.
“So India is in a more secure position,” he said, adding, “It has extended the hand of friendship and the Pakistan Prime Minister has responded to an extent in various bilateral talks and otherwise.”
Kohli said, “Now if it translates into action, then this relationship can be built. Otherwise, it has been a thorny relationship and we have to acknowledge this. While India will proceed on its path, it is upto Pakistan how it wants to see its ties with India.”