Modi, Sharif hold talks, agree to cooperate with each other to eliminate terrorism from South Asia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

New Delhi, July 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and its outcome on Friday evoked a mixed response with BJP seeing a “glimmer of light” in the bilateral relationship while Congress termed it as neither historic nor a breakthrough.

Regional parties had a different take with the ruling PDP and opposition National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir welcoming the dialogue while Shiv Sena did not share its ally BJP’s enthusiasm on the issue.

Hailing the outcome of the meeting between the two leaders in Ufa, Russia, BJP spokesman M J Akbar said Pakistan has for the first time accepted India’s “definition” of terrorism.

He told reporters: “A word, an adjective is being used to describe the meeting which is ‘breakthrough’. The reason for this is very clear… Perhaps there is a glimmer of light in the bilateral relationship. Perhaps there is an opportunity of taking the relationship forward.”

For the first time, he said, Pakistan has accepted India’s “definition of terrorism that terrorism in all its forms is unacceptable”.

That is a change from the “nuanced game” Pakistan has played on the subject by differentiating between “good and bad terrorists”, he said.

He also highlighted that Pakistan has agreed to expedite the trial of the accused in Mumbai terror case after pursuing for seven years its “barely disguised” policy of protecting terrorists charged with the crime.

“An important concession has been made by Pakistan,” he said, adding that Pakistan has also accepted the voice samples, recording of conversation between terrorists and their Pak-based handlers during the terror attack, provided by India.

However, Congress was quick to dismiss BJP’s enthusiasm on the issue. Former Union Minister Anand Sharma said the outcome of the meeting was a dilution of India’s long-held positions on terrorism and commitments extracted from Pakistan on the issue.

Accusing the Modi government of inconsistency in dealing with Pakistan, he said all the steps of Prime Minister Modi on Pakistan have been ill-advised as he has no clear policy on how to deal with it.

Khurshid asks whether Dawood, LoC killings figured in talks

Former external affairs minister and leader Salman Khurshid said the nation must know whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of bringing underworld don Dawood Ibrahim back and the killing of jawans along the Line of Control (LoC) during the meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Khurshid said: “I don’t think the MEA could have said that we had a disastrous meeting. They would say that it productive. What is the other word they could have used that it was a casual meeting etc. So, the point remains not what they are saying, not what the press conference indicates. The point is that we want to see on the ground if some effective implementation of whatever they have said.”

He further said: “Will the attacks by terrorists stop? Will the camps be dismantled? Will our brave young men continue to be slaughtered, continue to be martyred on the border and the Line of Control? These are all very important questions. What about Dawood Ibrahim? Will Dawood Ibrahim be returned to India? Will he come here to face trial? All these questions if they were raised, what was the response, what was the indication, what was the timeline give, the country must be told.”

Omar dubs Modi-Nawaz eet as ‘good first step’

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah sounded cautiously optimistic about the bilateral talks held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, dubbing it a ‘good first step’.

Omar shared his views via a series of tweets: “Resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue is a welcome development. I only hope that this time it is sustained over the long term for results”

“We’ve seen too many breaks in this process to allow today’s announcements to excite us much here in the valley but it’s a good 1st step”

“We expect that in spite of Pakistan not mentioning Kashmir at all that the issue of Kashmir will receive its due attention going ahead”

“And a little less chest thumping from spokespersons claiming victory because that’s a sure shot way to derail the entire process”

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi and Nawaz Sharif, held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Ufa, Russia.

Both the leaders agreed to cooperate with each other to eliminate terrorism from South Asia, noting their collective responsibility to ensure peace.

They also agreed for their National Security Advisors, Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz, to meet in New Delhi to discuss all matters relating to terrorism, also concurring on an early meeting between the DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers, followed by that of the DGMOs.

Foreign Secretaries S Jaishankar and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, who held a joint press meet after the meeting, said both countries have condemn terrorism in all forms and decide to take steps to deal with the menace.

They said that the meeting between the two Prime Ministers was cordial, adding that both sides have agreed to hold collective responsibility to ensure peace and development and to do so they are prepare to discuss all outstanding issues.

The two Asian neighbours also decided to release the fishermen in each other’s custody within 15 days.

(With Agency Inputs)

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