Taking note of the conciliatory approach of the newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif towards India, the Bharatiya Janata Party has said that the new civilian regime in Islamabad deserves the benefit of doubt.
A resolution adopted on the opening day of the National Executive of the party here on `Suraksha and Swabhiman’ (National Security and Self-Pride) said, “With a newly elected government in Pakistan there is reason for cautious optimism for bettering ties, without losing our national self-respect.”
The position is a slight deviation from its earlier stand that it is opposed to ‘normalcy in relationship’ with Pakistan unless the neighbouring country takes decisive action against “terrorist elements operating from its soil against India.”
At the National Council of the party in New Delhi in March the party charged the Manmohan Singh government of frittering away the gains made by New Delhi after an 2004 agreement between then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then President Gen. Musharraf in which a commitment was made that the soil of Pakistan would not be allowed to be used to target India.
Barring the one paragraph benefit of doubt to Pakistan, the rest of the resolution is a diatribe on the alleged provocative actions of the military establishment directed at India and ‘inactive’ approach of New Delhi.
Interestingly, unlike at the National Council, the resolution does not make any reference to Bangladesh. In March the party had flagged in a big way the alleged unchecked `Bangladeshi infiltration’ fraught with serious consequences to the security situation and communal harmony in the north-east.
Party president Rajnath Singh had also reiterated opposition of his party to the 2011 India-Bangladesh Boundary Agreement on the ground it is flawed and said that the government cannot bank on its support when the Constitutional Amendment Bill to facilitate the implementation of the pact comes up in Parliament during the current session.
However, subsequently the government prevailed upon the party not to oppose the Constitutional Amendment saying that the boundary pact would not compromise Indian interests.
Goodwill with Maldives affected
On foreign policy, the resolution said that due to a lack of political direction it was on a `drift’ rendering India ineffective in meeting the challenges faced by the country. “The relations with the SAARC countries had never been as low as it is now. The goodwill that we had in Maldives is all but lost. Nepal may have not drafted a Constitution yet for itself, but it seems to want nothing from India. Sri Lanka has not fulfilled its promise of devolution of power as yet.”
“There were more than 400 incursions by China into our territory. The recent incursion in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector in Ladakh was brazen. Dams on the Brahmaputra, building roads and communication towers in areas in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), extraordinary claims in South China Sea affecting Indian commercial operations in Vietnam are but a few threats from China not adequately addressed by our External Affairs Ministry.”