The Modi government’s refusal to have talks with Pakistan betrays its “contradictory and self-defeating stand” vis-a-vis Islamabad and is dictated “by its communal agenda within the country”, the CPI-M has said.
“What is required is resumption of the comprehensive dialogue while maintaining a firm stance on tackling terrorism,” said an editorial in the CPI-M journal “People’s Democracy”.
“With its blinkered approach to relations with Pakistan which are dictated by its communal agenda within the country, the Modi government is constricting its scope for strategic autonomy,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.
“Whether it is Afghanistan or South Asia regional cooperation, India cannot play a positive role given its confrontationist stance towards Pakistan.
“Such a position does not only affect our external policy but also will have harmful repercussions internally – the worsening situation in Kashmir and the revival of extremism in Punjab are the two obvious pointers,” the editorial said.
The CPI-M hailed the decision to open a corridor from India to the Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan as “one of the rare instances when the governments of India and Pakistan have agreed to cooperate after a long period of stalemate and tensions”.
The corridor links the Dera Baba Nanak Gurudwara in Gurdaspur district in Indian Punjab to the Darbar Sahib Gurudwara where Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life.
“The joint effort in preparing the Kartarpur corridor has once again underlined the necessity for improving relations and cooperation between the two countries. It also highlighted the importance of developing people to people relations as a vital component of restoring normalcy and good neighbourly relations,” the editorial said.
But on the very day the corridor was being formally launched, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced India’s rejection of Pakistan’s invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the SAARC summit in Islamabad saying talks cannot be held along with terrorist actions.
“This falling back on a hardline stance underscores the contradictory and self-defeating stand of the Modi government in its relations with Pakistan,” it said.
It said that the “surgical strikes” of September 2016 only led to more firings and shelling across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, where rising militancy has been met with “brutal State repression”.
The CPI-M said that there was no consistency in India’s approach to Pakistan.