India should manage its neighbours correctly to play meaningful role, Congress tells govt

New Delhi: Senior government functionaries should refrain from making boastful claims about diplomatic or military victories and the government should try to manage its neighbourhood well if it wants India to play a "meaningful regional and global role", the Congress said on Thursday.

Initiating a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha over India's foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners, Congress leader Anand Sharma said: "India is a large country, a big economy. We have rightful aspirations to play a global role, a leadership role in the comity of nations.

File image of Anand Sharma. PTI

File image of Anand Sharma. PTI

"But unless we manage our neighbourhood correctly, it will be impossible for India to play any meaningful role either regionally or globally," he added.

Sharma demanded to know from the government what roadmap it had about engagement with Pakistan.

"I was surprised like many others when we had claims at the highest level, at the level of prime minister and ministers, that we have isolated Pakistan. Why?

"A mature, large country does not make such claims or statements when it wishes to lead the region and be a leader in the world. I would urge the government to refrain from making such statements," he said.

The supposed isolation of Pakistan was an "irresponsible and factually incorrect" claim, he said.

Sharma said there was a strong military and economic access between Pakistan and China, between Pakistan and Turkey and Russia had entered into a defence MoU with Pakistan "for the first time in history".

"Should it be a matter of concern to us or not?" Sharma asked.

"So we should avoid making this boastful claim which does not resonate well with any country in the world and our major partners.

"Nor should India ever have this intention to isolate. India, as a big country, should declare its intent to engage and resolve issues."

He recalled how after leading India to the biggest ever military victory against Pakistan during the Bangladesh War in 1971 - which resulted in Pakistan's division and the creation of Bangladesh - then prime minister Indira Gandhi did not boast about it.

Sharma also took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his impromptu and "dramatic" landing in Lahore in December 2015 on his way back from Afghanistan.

"The prime minister has not told the nation as to what transpired in the meeting there. And what did we get as a gift? Attack on Pathankot airbase."

Sharma said the prime minister had travelled to 65 countries, including five times to the US, but he had not apprised Parliament even once as to what he discussed with leaders during his foreign visits.

Updated Date: Aug 03, 2017 18:55 PM

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