Washington: Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari has asked Pakistan to not blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi but its own policy of using terror groups for a proxy war against India for the current low ebb in the relations between the two countries.
“The infliction point in India Pakistan relations was 26/11 (Mumbai attacks). After 2008, irrespective of the fact that whether there was a UPA Government, or that was succeeded by a BJP-led NDA Government, the relationship with Pakistan has been in a deep freeze," he said, while speaking at an event here organised by the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council Monday.
“There is a very widespread feeling among the people of India, not limited to the government, that actions against the perpetrators of 26/11 is a pre-requisite for forward movement between India and Pakistan," he said.
Tewari said at a time when Modi spontaneously decided to land in Lahore to attend Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding, the move was followed by the Pathankot airbase attack in India.
“And post, the attack on Pathankot airbase, when India invited the joint investigating team from Pakistan, which consisted of people from across the agencies and gave them access to actually have a look at the evidence which pointed to the fact that this was an attack which was sponsored from across the border.
“Rather than taking that evidence on board, you saw a knee-jerk reaction saying that this was a false flag operation and the Indians have done it themselves," he said. “So, it’s very easy to blame Modi or the right-wing approach, which they as a government have, but in reality, the infliction point between India and Pakistan is 26/11," Tewari said while responding to senior Pakistani leader Mushahid Hussian’s remarks that Modi’s right-wing policies have resulted in the current low-ebb in relationship between Indian and Pakistan.
Hussain, however, claimed that India seems to be pursuing an “ideological foreign policy via Pakistan", which is based on the ideology of Hindutva and is an extension of what is happening to the Muslim population in India.
“That is creating more complications (in Indo-Pak ties) and also leading to bigotry and also certain kind of chasm between communities which is sanctioned by the state at times," he said. “For instance, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, his mindset, his attitude and things like there was for the first time there was no Muslim representation in his government. So symbolism often becomes substance in these situations," he added.
Responding to a question on China, the former Pakistan minister said that India is currently isolated in the region on the issue of One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative of China. “Some people want India to play the role of a counter weight to China to short play the China card, to some people in America, Japan may want that. Others would like that India should be part of the mainstream, which is the Asian century. Pakistan is part of that—OBOR."
He said that Pakistan sees China as a source of strength and a source of stability in the Asian context. “We feel that India too should be part of that broad Asian mainstream when we talk of the Asian century," Hussain said. PTI