BJP claims Modi-Sharif talks ‘a breakthrough’

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Friday claimed major breakthrough in India-Pakistan ties as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his counterpart Nawaz Sharif even as Congress slammed the hour-long meeting between the two leaders held on the sidelines of SCO summit in Ufa, Russia.

“The meeting was a breakthrough, the reason for this is very clear as for the first time Pakistan has accepted our definition of terrorism,” BJP leader MJ Akbar claimed.

“For the first time Pakistan has accepted to combat terrorism in ‘all its forms’,” he said, while pointing out that Pakistan had, for long, tried to play a nuanced game on this subject by trying to differentiate between good terrorism and bad terrorism; for India terrorism was always an unmitigated evil.

Akbar also pointed out that both sides have agreed to expedite the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case trial and will exchange voice samples of the accused.

“Pakistan has accepted the voice samples, which are the basis of our case. They were the evidence we provided, it was visible to the whole world. Now that Pakistan has accepted this, there is glimmer of light in the relationship between the two countries,” Akbar added.

Home minister Rajnath Singh congratulated Prime Minister for his statesman like approach and engaging Pakistan at diplomatic level.

“The joint statement is a step forward towards normalizing bilateral relations, however the future outcome will be keenly watched,” Rajnath said.

“The meeting of DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers will also help in stablising the situation at the India-Pakistan border,” he added.

However, Congress refused to share the enthusiasm of the BJP and slammed the ruling party for engaging with Pakistan.

“Just last month external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said as long as Lakhvi is roaming free no talks with Pakistan. It seems there is no coordination between EAM and PM, Congress leader Ajay Maken said.

“Two of our jawans have been killed by Pakistan in last 3 days, PM must answer what was the hurry to talk to Pakistan?” he asked.

“Pakistan killed an Indian soldier during ceasefire (on the LoC) … and Prime Minister Modi is meeting Nawaz Sharif … this is the government that made tall claims that they will teach Pakistan a lesson,” Congress leader Meem Afzaal told reporters.

“Today (Friday), the PM is meeting Nawaz Sharif without any reason … we would like to know what were the circumstances that Modi had to invite Sharif for the meeting,” he said.

And not just the Congress, BJP’s ally in Maharashtra Shiv Sena also did not react with enthusiasm.

“It is unfortunate that Modi ji met Nawaz Sharif today. There has been no change in conditions (on the border). People have lots of expectations from Modi ji,” Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said.

“I feel he (Modi) is capable of changing the current situation and the neighbouring country needs to be taught a lesson in a manner it understands,” he said.

“Recently, our army had gone into Myanmar to eliminate terrorists there. I don’t know if the government has learnt any lessons from that but Pakistan needs to be taught a lesson as well,” Thackeray told reporters.

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