'UPA govt preferred outcomes over optics': Congress slams Modi govt after Pathankot attack

New Delhi: Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of reversing foreign policy from "outcomes to optics", Congress on Tuesday stepped up attack over government's handling of ties with Pakistan in the wake of the Pathankot terror attack which came within days of his Lahore visit.

Congress' Anand Sharma criticised Modi government over the Pathankot terror attack. PTI

Congress' Anand Sharma criticised Modi government over the Pathankot terror attack. PTI

Party spokesperson and Deputy Leader of Congress Parliamentary in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma asked as to what assurances the Prime Minister received from Pakistan to prompt his "surprise trip" to Lahore on 25 December.

Dismissing PM's visit as a "dramatic gesture", Sharma, who is also former Minister of State of External Affairs, said, "UPA government and its then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh preferred outcomes over optics. Now this has been reversed by optics coming first. Optics have taken place in Lahore."

"The Prime Minister should now tell what are the outcomes. While we support dialogue, we want to make it clear that our security and integrity are non-negotiable," Sharma said.

He also asked the PM to take the Opposition in confidence on engaging the neighbouring country.

Sharma sought to contrast the functioning of Modi government vis a vis India's relations with Pakistan with that of the previous UPA government.

"The comprehensive bilateral dialogue with Pakistan suspended after Mumbai terror strike could not be restored because India had laid some conditions. We wanted 26/11 conspirators to be charged and tried. We wanted speedy trial of the Mumbai terror accused.

"The wish of the then UPA's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan was not fulfilled because Pakistan did not honour its promises. What assurances were received by PM Modi which prompted his visit to Lahore?"

While acknowledging that this is the time when the nation has to stand together, Sharma insisted, "We have the right to ask questions."

"After cancellation of NSA level talks in August, what was the understanding reached between NSA Ajit Doval and his Pakistan counterpart in Bangkok? What were the reasons for PM to make his surprise trip to Lahore? What assurances were given to merit this dramatic gesture?

"Does the Prime Minister believe that Pakistani establishment, including their Army and ISI are for the dialogue process? What assured the Prime Minister that the resumption of peace process has the full support and endorsement of the entire Pakistani establishment?

"Was PM Modi suspicious when the Pakistan NSA was absent in Lahore, during his surprise visit? Was that message not correctly read," Sharma asked.


Updated Date: Jan 05, 2016 16:01 PM

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