‘Modi Forgot Pakistan’: Congress Slams India-Saudi Joint Statement

NEW DELHI — The Congress on Thursday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the joint statement issued after his talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying the prime minister "forgot" to write the name of "terror nourisher" Pakistan in the document.

The statement, issued hours after the Modi-Salman talks, said the two leaders condemned the Pulwama terror attack in the strongest possible terms and called on all countries to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy. However, it did not name Pakistan in this context.

"Modiji on February 18 said 'the time for talks with Pakistan is over, and now action will be taken'," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted. "Modiji on February 20 saying—India and Pakistan will talk as Modiji has been trying for since May 2014," he said, referring to a paragraph in the document that talked about the Indian and the Saudi sides agreeing on the need for creation of conditions necessary for resumption of comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan.

Modi "forgot" to write the name of "terror nourisher" Pakistan in the joint statement, Surjewala said.

Salman "appreciated consistent efforts made by Prime Minister Modi since May 2014 including prime minister's personal initiatives to have friendly relations with Pakistan," the joint statement said.

The talks between Modi and Salman came days after the February 14 attack by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.

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