Indian parties bashing Pakistan to win points
* BJP president says India will gain international approval to send troops into Pakistan
* Prime Minister Singh says Congress-led government fought militants, NDA surrendered to them
* Political parties offer peace, restoration of dialogue with Pakistan in Kashmir
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: Indian political parties have resorted to bashing Pakistan and its policies in a bid to attract support, as campaigning for the general elections reaches its climax.
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has been reminding his main adversary, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that he sent commandos to fight terrorists while their government had to release terrorists during the plane hijacking of 1999. His party’s leaders in villages throughout the country have been reminding people that Congress-led governments have always been tougher on Pakistan.
Indian troops: In response, BJP President Rajnath Singh on Monday promised that his party, if voted into power, would obtain international approval to send Indian troops into Pakistan to crush terrorism. “If voted to power, the BJP government will ask Pakistan if it needs the support of the Indian army to crush terrorism. If Islamabad is agreeable, it is all right. If not, our government will approach the global community for its endorsement to send the Indian army to Pakistan,” he told a rally. “However, we would like Pakistan to first use its might to stamp out terrorism and dismantle all terror networks operating from its territory,” he added.
Accusing the Congress-led government of failing to effectively check terrorism, the BJP president said the Congress-led government had failed to instil confidence in the internal security of the nation. He said the BJP was committed to protecting India’s frontiers and providing security to the people. “Pokhran-II and the victory in the Kargil war are two shining examples of our commitment to internal and external security,” he added.
Surrender: Meanwhile, Prime Minister Singh has denied charges that the National Democratic Alliance government consulted him prior to exchanging terrorists for hostages during the 1999 hijacking incident. “I read in newspapers the statement of Rajnath Singh that NDA had consulted me, being the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha then. This is completely false,” he said. Pointing out differences between the UPA and NDA governments, he said the NDA government had surrendered before the terrorists and took them to Kandahar, following which one of them formed a terrorist organisation, the Jaish-e-Mohammad. “We did not surrender before the terrorists during 26/11 attacks but sent our commandos to fight bravely, who killed nine terrorists and caught one alive,” he added.
Different approach: Meanwhile, the political parties have adopted a different tack in Indian-held Kashmir, promising peace and the restoration of dialogue between India and Pakistan. Announcing his candidacy for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, National Conference president and former chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah warned of consequences if dialogue with Pakistan were not resumed. He said vested interests were claiming the presence of the Taliban in Kashmir, adding that this was mere propaganda.