The United Progressive Alliance government's recent attempts to renew bilateral talks with Pakistan through ‘cricket diplomacy' are comparable to the controversial joint statement by Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yusuf Raza Gilani at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt in July 2009, the Bharatiya Janata Party said on Thursday.

The joint statement then drew flak from the BJP on the ground that it de-linked action on terror from the composite dialogue process and had a reference to Balochistan that allegedly emboldened Pakistani leaders to accuse India of involvement in fomenting insurgency in the region.

Expressing “shock” at the Centre's decision to open peace-dialogue channels with Pakistan, BJP national spokesman Tarun Vijay told a press conference here: “We find no reason for this move even after terror suspect Tahawwur Hussain Rana had admitted that the government of Pakistan was directly involved in the November 2008 terror attack in Mumbai that killed so many civilians.”

Assailing Islamabad for not cooperating with New Delhi in investigating terror cases, Mr. Vijay said the Centre should mount pressure on Pakistan to cede the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) area to India. “Parliament passed a unanimous resolution in February 1994 that PoK is an integral part of India. Once the area is reclaimed, terrorism can be brought to an end as all terror camps run by Pakistan there would be dismantled.”

Mr. Vijay criticised Dr. Singh for restarting defence exchange with China and for not taking up the issue of the alleged presence of 10,000 Chinese troops in PoK during his recent visit to the country.

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