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'Banality Has Overtaken This Government'

'Our greatest handicap today is that we have a Government that behaves in an ad-hoc manner. We have a situation that even the Prime Minister feels like resigning'

'Banality Has Overtaken This Government'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

We are discussing now a very important matter and we should treat this issue as a very important national issue. But how does this Government treat this matter?

The way they have been behaving, it seems that banality has overtaken this Government and it is indulging only in inanities. The whole country is concerned. The Prime Minister is not concerned in taking the country and this House into full confidence regarding what had happened and why this failure of these talks.

This is a matter of great regret that in spite of the genuine good wishes and the longing for peace, tranquillity and good neighbourly relations between the people of the two countries who are neighbours, the Agra Summit has had an extremely disappointing end.

At least we have achieved one thing that the two countries at the highest level have sat across the table. We sincerely hope that the talks will ultimately pave the way for a better understanding and a closer relationship between the two countries and the leaders of the two countries.

We feel that there is no alternative to dialogue but it has to be a continuous affair. We, from this House appeal to the Governments and leaders of the two countries to make all serious and sincere attempts to improve the bilateral relations so that a conducive atmosphere is created for the resumption of talks and ultimately for a solution.

In this sub-continent, between our two countries, our problems are common: the problems of poverty, illiteracy, lack of development, employment and industrial progress. But instead of striving for peace and friendship, the two countries have been indulging in bloodshed.

We feel that the people of these two countries have a vested interest in peace and friendship. We hope the hon. Prime Minister will visit Pakistan to continue the process. We have no doubt that unfortunately Pakistan is still guiding its principles and policies on the two-nation theory, which is not acceptable to secular India.

Pakistan continues to support and encourage cross-border terrorism. I believe, that this country rightly and correctly wanted to discuss all issues apart from Kashmir during the Summit – the important issues like cross-border terrorism and what we have been advocating trade and commerce, cultural exchanges between the people; release of prisoners of war, people who are in their jail, etc.

The whole country and the House is committed that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and shall ever remain so. The ordinary people, the common people of Jammu and Kashmir have fought against armed infiltration from Pakistan.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir have rejected religion to be the deciding factor. We feel that even if initially non-conclusive, we should continue our effort to have dialogues at different levels, as bilateral dialogue is essential to sort out the outstanding problems between the two countries.

The Government should note that the entire spectrum of political forces in this country had held the Summit and there being tremendous amount of goodwill for the success of the talks. But even then it failed. We must evaluate whether the Government was able to rise to the occasion and whether the Government had the statesmanship, the capacity and the expertise to deal with the situation.

I cannot but charge this Government of having failed abjectly and comprehensively to act like a matured nation and it gave the impression that this Government can only react to the situation that may develop but can never control the situation themselves. Why did this country of one billion people with supposedly experienced leadership behave with such naivety and amateurish ineptitude?

After a long time we had an occasion of having a summit of this importance. It is a disappointment to all that it had ended in a failure, in a sense. I had said earlier that we did not consider it a total failure. We hope that in future the talks will continue.

There is no substitute to dialogue, especially in the light of what we have been experiencing over the years. So, I said earlier also that Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration have to be the foundation of this talk.

Normally, Summits are held after a good deal of preparations, discussions, and long-drawn homework on both sides about the areas of discussion, subjects of discussion and about the possible outcome.

But strangely, in this case, it appears that the Summit was the starting point. If we could not be prepared, then the dates should not have been fixed until we were prepared. According to us, an unprepared Summit is much more worse than a delayed Summit.

My party, for a long time, has been trying to impress upon the Government, the necessity to have bilateral discussion. There is no other forum where we can exchange our views. SAARC is not functioning, and there is no alternative to start a dialogue or to have a talk. After all, the problem of the two countries are similar.

There are hunger, poverty, illiteracy, lack of development, unemployment; and we are wasting our scarce resources in trying to see eyeball to eyeball. Therefore, talk was necessary and it is desirable and it should continue.

After the fiasco of the cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir, the Government suddenly decided to withdraw the cease-fire and then gave an invitation to him. We support the invitation. But by giving invitation means that the Government would have to be ready, fully prepared. Even then, we supported this Government.

We believed that this Government would behave like a matured country and not behave in a clumsy and callous manner. There was no dialogue with the Opposition parties. They were never taken into confidence. So far as the cease-fire in Kashmir was concerned, the Government, on its own declared it.

Only five days before the Summit was to start, the Opposition parties were called. We knew that there was no point in meeting. All the parties supported the decision of the Government to call the Summit, expressed our support for the talks and gave our constructive suggestions.

We tried to give constructive suggestions in that meeting. We said that apart from Kashmir, there are many vital issues between the two countries like economic relations, trade and commerce between the two countries, cultural exchanges between the two countries, etc. We said that since there was scope for having wider trade relations and economic relations between the two countries, they should also be looked into and they should also be discussed, apart from people to people relations.

As it poses a great threat to the entire sub-continent, we should behave in a very serious and responsible manner. Agra meeting should be seen as the resumption of dialogue and problems cannot be resolved in one extent.

We must continue to pursue the path of dialogue with the Pakistan to resolve all our outstanding issues. These, I believe should be treated as very constructive suggestions although we accept that the meeting was a mere ritual, just to tell people that they have consulted the opposition also.

At least Jaswant-ji could have told us as to what was happening. The hon. Prime Minister can not be excused for ignoring the Opposition. In fact they also did not know what was happening. They can only react to the situation that may develop. The foreign Policy in this country has ceased to be a National Foreign Policy. Is this the way diplomacy or the foreign affairs to be conducted?

More than the agenda it seems it was more important as to who was joining the lunch or the dinner. Because of the total unpreparedness or total unprofessional manner in which the talks have been conducted, this Government has abjectly failed. We have heard about four or five rounds of discussions between the Prime Minister and the Pakistan President. On what did it rock? I do not know.

They came here with a well rehearsed plan of dominating the show. Is there anything called media management in the matters like this? I do not say that you influence or censor media. Can you think of a more amateurish manner in which Government has acted? It was pathetic – the way things were kept back from the country.

You may remember that after the performance at the breakfast, the Prime Minister's earlier statement was circulated among the press. Are we safe in this country to leave our affairs in the hands of this Government?

However, I hope everything is not lost and this is not the end of the road. Mr. Jaswant Singh has said that efforts for peace would continue and we should endeavour to build trust and confidence. We share his hope.

A very important things with regard to the demand of autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir has been completely jettisoned. Article 370 represents the country's commitment to the people of J&K and is based upon the Treaty of Accession. They have acceded to India and they have surrendered to the calls of religion, bigotry and fanaticism. They have rejected the two-nation theory. Now, what has been stated recently by the hon. Home Minister?

It only creates a situation which will be exploited by those who are on the other side of the border. We want cross-border or proxy war should be discussed, but unless you have the willing support of the people of Kashmir, there will be greater and greater problems.

Our greatest handicap today is that we have a Government that behaves in an ad-hoc manner. We have a situation that even the Prime Minister feels like resigning. It is because of the motley combination which is behaving in different manner. Therefore, it has become all the more necessary that whenever the Prime Minister decides to go to Islamabad, he should go not only with the support of the people of this country but also with full preparation and with the objective of arriving at a settlement.

Of course, it should not be at the cost of India's national interest. I am sure that everybody will join me in wishing the Government all success. After all, we are a mature nation. We have got very experienced leaders who are in-charge of this.

But I must once again condemn the ineptitude, the inefficiency, the callousness in which this Government has acted in dealing with the matters of Summit. They must take the the House into confidence and tell about the resolve in going and taking part in the future discussion with full preparation, so that this country's interest and the interest of the people of these two countries could be safeguarded and peace can be restored to the sub-continent.

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