New Delhi: Amidst the Kashmiri separatists issue threatening to jeopardise the India-Pakistan NSA-level talks, Congress on Friday slammed the government over its policy with regard to Pakistan, saying it had made a “joke of itself" and “failed" to send a clear message despite provocations.

The party also charged that the government’s “flip-flop diplomacy is hurting the country dearly" even as India made it clear to Pakistan that it should not go ahead with the meeting here of its NSA Sartaz Aziz with Kashmiri separatists when he comes to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

Former Union minister and Congress leader Manish Tewari said the BJP-led NDA government is making a “joke of itself" as regards its engagement with Pakistan. He added that even BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha had called for the cancellation of the exercise, describing it as a betrayal of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s policy towards the neighbouring country.

“And the manner in which (Pakistan NSA) Sartaz Aziz and Pakistan have been conducting themselves, they are sending a very clear message that they are not interested in our conversation," Tewari said.

The Congress leader said that the Pakistan NSA has not even sent his itinerary as to what he intends to do while in India on his proposed day-long visit. “So, therefore, Mr Prime Minister, you need to tell the nation; are you under international pressure to talk to Pakistan?" Tewari asked.

Another former Union minister, RPN Singh, said India needed to have sent stronger messages much earlier.

“We’ve had repeated killings of our jawans, repeated killings of women and children on the border. We’ve had an attack in Gurdaspur in Punjab after 20 years. A Pakistani terrorist was captured in Udhampur. These were the times that the government of India should have taken steps to send a strong message to Pakistan," he said.

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