Modi’s foreign policy a ‘failure’: Congress

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy was a “failure” and his government was “incapable of strategic thinking”.

Talking to the media here, Khurshid said there had been over several hundred ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir in one year of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and a number of civilians had been killed besides soldiers laying down their lives.

“Modi had said talks and bombs will not go together. Why has it changed,” Khurshid, a former external affairs minister, asked.

India on Thursday warned Pakistan of an “effective and forceful response” to unprovoked firing after repeated ceasefire violations by it over the last few days along the Line of Control and the international border in Jammu and Kashmir.

The border tensions erupted within days of a meeting between Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Russian city of Ufa on July 10 in which both leaders agreed to a series of steps to improve bilateral ties.

Khurshid said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been critical of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government when it held talks with Pakistan.

“We felt that Pakistan betrayed us. We used to make efforts to improve ties with Pakistan with great deliberation,” he said.

Khurshid said the Modi government had called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan last year over its envoy meeting separatist leaders but later sent the foreign secretary to that country under a pretext.

“There was celebration of breakthrough (at Ufa). Next day, there were attacks on us,” he said.

Khurshid said there were far less ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the last year of the UPA government compared to the record of the NDA government.

Answering a call on the right time to talk with Pakistan, Khursid said it was a very difficult call.

“We do not want to undermine the ability of the government to deal with Pakistan but we do want it to deal with its eyes and ears open. When it shuts its eyes and shuts its ears, I think that is not the best way to go for dialogue,” he said.

Khurshid said there was a tinge of policing in foreign policy.

“I think a policeman’s foreign policy is not the best foreign policy that I am aware of,” he said.

He said there was a perception that Modi was successful in foreign policy but “it has been a greater failure”.

“The government is incapable of strategic thinking. They should do some tactical thinking,” he said.

Khurshid also took a dig at the government over China blocking India’s move in the UN that called for action against Pakistan on the release of Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

He said it was unrealistic to expect that China would not support Pakistan.

Referring to Modi addressing the Indian diaspora during his visits abroad, Khurshid said it was not enough to impress only the non-resident Indians.

“The priority should be to impress the natural citizens (of that country),” he said.

Khurshid also accused the government of neglecting the middle-east and African nations.

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