Pak Made Spectacle Of Talks By Meeting Hurriyat: Modi

29 August 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
KV Prasad

New Delhi: For the first time after India called off official-level talks with Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said New Delhi was disappointed that Islamabad sought to make a 'spectacle' of the efforts it made to take the relationship forward by holding talks with the Hurriyat. Ten days after India told Pakistan that the scheduled August 25 Foreign Secretary-level talks were off, the Prime Minister made public his thoughts during an interaction with the Japanese media on the eve of his five-day tour of the country. Modi said that India desires peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties with Pakistan and recalled the 'very good meeting' with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when he attended the swearing-in ceremony of his government this May. 'We together decided that the Foreign Secretaries should meet and explore how to take the relations forward. India has no hesitation in discussing any outstanding issues with Pakistan within the bilateral framework that has been established under the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. 'We, therefore, were disappointed that Pakistan sought to make a spectacle of these efforts and went ahead with talks with secessionist elements from Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi just prior to the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries,' the Prime Minister said in response to a question on how he plans to improve the deteriorated relations. Modi said while New Delhi would continue to make efforts, any meaningful bilateral dialogue necessarily requires an environment that is free from terrorism and violence. While the interaction covered both bilateral and international issues, it was for the first time that Prime Minister Modi chose to articulate his foreign policy. He denied the government was currently taking any initiative to review the nuclear doctrine adopted during the NDA regime which specifies 'no-first use'. The response was to a question about the BJP manifesto that promised to revise and update the document to make it relevant to current times. The nuclear policy continues to be a sensitive issue in Japan and Prime Minister Modi made it clear that India's position on the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is well-known. 'India remains strongly committed to universal, non-discriminatory, global nuclear disarmament. Our track record of non-proliferation is impeccable... As to the CTBT, we are committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.' The assertion assumes significance as India has made quite a progress in talks with Japan for a civil nuclear agreement and New Delhi hopes to convert it into a much-sought-after accord with Tokyo that Modi could return home with. In addition, there is emphasis on scaling up defence and strategic ties with Japan as also accent on infrastructure, including the bullet train. Modi himself alluded to these stating: 'There has been significant progress in our negotiations on the civil nuclear agreement; on the US-2 amphibian aircraft; and in the field of high-speed railway. It is my hope that my visit this time will pave the way for concrete cooperation in these fields.' Modi avoided expressing views to a question on China's 'expansionism' instead suggesting that while New Delhi was working to realise the full potential of its strategic and cooperative partnership with Beijing - as major countries in the continent - India, China and Japan need to work together, build on common interests and convert the 21st century into an Asian century. Modi, who was speaking to the Japanese media ahead of his Tokyo tour, denied the government was taking any initiative to review the nuclear doctrine adopted during the NDA regime which specifies 'no-first use'. 'We remain strongly committed to universal, non-discriminatory, global nuclear disarmament,' he said, adding India's track record of non-proliferation was impeccable. On CTBT, Modi said India was committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.