India today said that SAARC remains a priority for India as it wanted to promote closer cooperation and economic integration in the region.
MEA Spokesperson said that New Delhi’s interest in SAARC remains intact but the concern is that the connectivity, trade, including MFN and cooperation that SAARC requires terror free atmosphere that is not there due to the actions of one country in the neighbourhood.
MEA Spokesperson was replying to another question on the possibilty of SAARC without Pakistan.
On Pakistan’s ban on Indian films and TV channels in that country, the spokesperson said, it reflects Islamabad’s lack of self confidence. He said, India has not imposed any blanket ban on Pakistani artists and films.
The Congress party today attacked the Narendra Modi government for what it called ‘misleading’ the nation that ‘surgical strikes’ against Pakistan never took before the recent one.
This comes a day after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar reportedly informed parliament’s Standing Committee on External Affairs about surgical strikes having taken place in the past as well.
Asserting that the Congress never doubted the September 28-29 surgical strikes across the Line of Control, party spokesperson Dr.Abhishek Manu Singhvi questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the BJP’s continued bid to politcise the defence force’s action.
“The Congress party has always been behind the nation and the Army in the initiative that has been colloquially termed as surgical strikes. While we, as a Party, have never questioned the surgical strikes, we have also reiterated that it shouldn’t be politicised” he said adding that there have been Ministers of the Narendra Modi Government, like the Defence Minister, who have stated in public that this is the first time such strikes have happened. A fact which has been proven false by a Former Chief of Army Staff and, more recently, by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
“The government shouldn’t deny that this (surgical strikes) happened before. While we support the operation, they should be magnanimous enough to say that this is not the first time that this country has conducted these strikes,” Singhvi told the media here.
“The Foreign Secretary in precise terms has said that surgical strikes have happened before. We have no reason to not believe his precise assertions,” said Singhvi referring to the parliamentary panel being informed about previous surgical strikes-like military operations.
As has been stated, there were similar strategic strikes conducted by the Indian armed forces in the past, with the full support of the then Governments.
The manner in which the BJP Ministers are prevaricating on this issue is against national interest. Dr Singhvi said, “The Government shouldn’t deny that these strikes haven’t happened before and should be magnanimous in saying that this is not the first time that these strikes have happened.”
“Does it look good for the Defence Minister of this country to be directly contradicted by none other than the Foreign Secretary?”
“Which one of them is prevaricating? The Foreign Secretary has spoken in measured and precise terms,” said Singhvi.
This kind of prevaricating only to score brownie points is unfortunate because it paints the nation in a bad light, he said.
“While the Prime Minister joins us in saying this issue shouldn’t be politicised, it’s happening under his nose by his colleagues,” the Congress spokesperson said.
“Why has not the Prime Minister mentioned even once about the posters dotting Uttar Pradesh, which politicise these strikes,” Singhvi asked.
Surgical strikes: When PM Modi says ‘don’t politicise’, he means exactly the opposite
Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “There are many issues which reflect how this Government has a genetic predisposition to exaggeration, distortion & hypocrisy.”
The Prime Minister has also joined the Congress in saying that the strikes should not be politicised. But, everyday his party colleagues are raking up this issue. There are billboards by the BJP springing up across Uttar Pradesh, which is trying to gain political mileage out of these attacks.
Pakistan dream for Kashmir will not be fulfilled till ‘Qayamat’: Sushma Sawaraj
By andalib akhter / New Delhi
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Sawaraj today categorically warned Pakistan saying its dream of getting Kashmir will not be fulfilled till ‘Qayamat’, the day of resurrection.
“Unka yeh Khawab Qayamat Tak pura nahi hoga”
In a statement she said that Pakistan is not giving ‘Dua’ to Kashmiris rather providing arms and to terrorists to kill innocent people.
The Minister also hit out at Mr. Sharif for calling killed terrorist Burhan Wani as martyr and wanted to know whether he has any idea that the killed terrorist was a Hizbul Mujahideen Commander.
“Behind Pakistan’s unabashed embrace and encouragement to terrorism lies its delusional though dangerous dream that ‘Kashmir will one day become Pakistan’, as Prime Minister Sharif said yesterday. The whole of India would like to tell Prime Minister of Pakistan that this dream will not be realized even at Qayamat, the end of eternity. The whole of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India. You will never be able to make this heaven on earth into a terror hell”, she stressed.
Shes said that Prime Minister Nawazsharif says that his Dua, good wishes are with the people of Kashmir. Sadly, it’s not Pakistan’s DUA or diplomatic support but its weapons and terrorism that it has exported to Jammu and Kashmir.
“Pakistan’s dirty money, dangerous terrorists and duplicitous state institutions seek to destabilize the region. The statement of none other than the Prime Minister of Pakistan has betrayed this despicable design. But I would like to repeat that this dream of Pakistan will never be fulfilled” she said.
She said that Pakistan, including its Prime Minister has praised as martyr, a wanted terrorist Commander of the banned terrorist organisation Hizb ul Mujahideen, Burhan Wani. “He was carrying an award of Rs.10 Lakh on his head because he had perpetrated heinous crimes including murder of elected representatives of local bodies and security forces/personnel”.
Even more condemnable than these deplorable attempts from across our border to incite violence and glorify terrorists is the fact that these attempts have been undertaken by Pakistan’s state machinery in active partnership with UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed and other leading terrorists belonging to internationally proscribed organisations.
“The country which has used fighter planes and artillery against millions of its own people has no right whatsoever to point a finger against our brave, professional and disciplined police and other security forces. Their restraint and respect for their fellow citizens is evident in the unusually high number of the injured personnel– more than 1700 – in the violence unleashed with the support from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir”.
Pakistan Commerce Minister Khurram Distagir Khan has said that his country aims to increase its exports to India to the tune of one billion dollars within a year. He said that made-up textile products and ready made garments have great potential to make their way to the markets of neghbouring India.
Pak news agency APP reports that the minister was chairing a meeting with Pakistani counterparts of Pak-India Business Council delegation led by Yawar Ali Shah.
The minister was of the view that due to land route, Pakistan is the most favorite and cost-effective market for India in terms of importing raw material for their agriculture and textile products.