It’s unfortunate that questions are being asked whether nationalism will be a poll issue in the Lok Sabha election while as patriots we should be flaunting our nationalism all the time rather than just before elections, the BJP has said, reiterating the Narendra Modi government’s Pakistan policy of “terror and talks cannot go together”.
Dismissing suggestions from Congress leaders that India should restart dialogue with Pakistan, BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi said at the two-day Festival of Ideas, organised here by NewsX, The Sunday Guardian and India News that are a part of the iTV Network, there would be no “compromise on the issue of national security under Modi and terror and talks cannot go together”.
“It is because of Modi’s tough stand against Pakistan that our neighbour, who is smaller in size than us, now goes around the world saying that India is breathing down its neck. Under earlier governments, the same neighbour used to hit us at will,” said Trivedi.
Earlier, Congress leader and former envoy to Pakistan Mani Shankar Aiyar advocated a rethink by the Modi government over its decision to have no talks with Pakistan. The veteran Congressman said “it would be in the interest of India to engage with Pakistan as living in hostility with the neighbour is not in our interest”.
He even claimed that contrary to the common belief both the neighbours have made much more progress in discussion during Army rule in that country, rather than during the tenure of elected governments.
Aiyar called for engaging with Pakistan–with the discussion being structured in whatever way we want—as for nine years we have not been in touch with them and nothing has been engaged from this strategy.
“Why don’t we have the guts to sit across the table and talk to them?” said Aiyar, who had even served as a diplomat in Pakistan.
Rooting for greater people-to-people interaction between Indians and Paksitanis, Aiyar recalled a dinner he and his wife had at the home of a former PoW Pakistani and how his wife wondered if they were really present in an “enemy country”.
“The question still haunts me even though I have been out of Pakistan for 40 years,” said Aiyar. He even called the Pakistani people, who like to watch Indian movies and exude warmth towards Indian actors, as the biggest asset for India in that country.