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Unlike Mani Shankar Aiyar, BJP Doesn't Feel Compulsion to Talk to Pakistan: Party’s Foreign Policy Head at News18 Rising India Summit

“Unlike Mani Shankar Aiyar, we have no ideological compulsions when it comes to Pakistan. So, I would be very wary of having any sort of dialogue with the Pakistan,” he said at the News18 Rising India Summit.

News18.com

Updated:March 17, 2018, 6:55 PM IST
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Unlike Mani Shankar Aiyar, BJP Doesn't Feel Compulsion to Talk to Pakistan: Party’s Foreign Policy Head at News18 Rising India Summit
Panel discussion on 'India and the World' at News18 Rising India Summit. (Image: News18)

New Delhi: Shedding some light on the ruling party’s foreign policy engagement and thought process, senior leader and foreign policy in-charge Vijay Chauthaiwale said that the BJP had no ideological compulsions when it came to Pakistan, unlike former Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar.

“Unlike Mani Shankar Aiyar, we have no ideological compulsions when it comes to Pakistan. So, I would be very wary of having any sort of dialogue with the Pakistan,” he said at the News18 Rising India Summit.

The statement comes more than a month after Aiyar had hailed Pakistan for seeking to resolve issues with India through dialogue, saying New Delhi does not have this policy.

This is not the first time that BJP has attacked Aiyar and his opinion on Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his campaign in Gujarat, had accused the suspended Congress leader of giving a 'supari' (contract) to get him "removed" from the way while on a visit to Pakistan three years ago.

Speaking at the Rising India Summit in the national capital, Chauthaiwale further said that the idea of a Pakistan-free South Asia was possible and something that the countries in the region needed to work on.

“Most countries in South Asia are linked by land, so connectivity is easy. South Asia minus Pakistan is feasible. We can think of South Asia minus Pakistan and bring other countries on board to a more borderless system.” he said.

But the proposal was shot down by former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, who argued that ignoring Pakistan only means defeat for India.

If we talk of boxing out Pakistan and ignoring the country, he said, it means that India can’t deal with Pakistan or doesn’t know how to go about it.

“We can continue to nurture Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) but cutting out Pakistan is an admission of defeat for India. We can't move away from Pakistan. It would be like admitting we can't deal with Pakistan. We can't put Pakistan in a box and forget about it,” he said, adding that relationship between Pakistan and India was likely to remain adversarial for quite some time.

“But Pakistan is taking up so much of our energy, we aren't able to focus on so many of the other things we can focus on,” he said.

His opinion was voiced, to an extent, by India Foundation chief Shaurya Doval who said that while ignoring Pakistan may not be a great option, there had to be different way to deal with the country.

“There are two sides of the South Asia region-bad and good. Pakistan reflects the bad side and that needs to be tackled in a way different than how one tackles the other part,” he said.

Another former foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, further said that with Pakistan, India had to pay the price of eternal vigilance. “Sustained dialogue with Pakistan is necessary. The situation along the LoC is too dangerous,” she said.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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