Continued terrorist attacks against India sponsored by Pakistan cannot coexist with bilateral talks, the Bhartiya Janata Party said on Sunday.
Even before the Saturday’s blast in Pune, the party had opposed the resumption of talks, arguing that Islamabad had failed to keep its promise of dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in the joint statement of January 2004.
The party’s core group met on Sunday to review the situation. Immediately afterwards, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the government must reconsider resuming the Foreign Secretary-level dialogue, scheduled to start on February 25. Not holding talks was a legitimate diplomatic option, he said.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari described the Pune blast as an “unfortunate incident.”
At a function where he came straight after presiding over the core committee meeting, Mr. Gadkari said he and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj would go to Pune and meet the victims.
Ms. Swaraj was to be felicitated by the BJP women’s wing for her election as the Leader of the Opposition, but she did not attend the function, as it would not be proper to celebrate after the attack.
Mr. Jaitley warned the government of falling into a trap and contemplating “adventurist steps” such as allowing Kashmiri youth to return from PoK where they attended terrorist camps. In a statement, he said: “The BJP urges the government to reconsider both these steps: allowing persons from PoK to return and resuming the dialogue with Pakistan. Terror and talks cannot coexist.”
The core committee felt that targeting the German Bakery in the neighbourhood of a synagogue and a Jewish Chabad House was aimed at creating an international impact.
Mr. Jaitley said the Pune blast was a grim reminder of the fragility of the country’s security. “The government must introspect whether our intelligence gathering and our response to it were adequate.” He wondered how and why the German Bakery, visited by American David Headley, who is known to have visited Mumbai several times before 26/11 to work out details for Pakistani terror outfits, was not better protected.