|UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon (left) with
Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Pakistan’s
Indepedence Day on Wednesday. (AFP)
New Delhi, Aug. 14: A resolution against Pakistan that Parliament passed today intending to showcase a united Indian political class amid a spike in border violence has instead underscored the deep divide in New Delhi over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Islamabad policy.
The Parliament statement rejected a resolution passed by Pakistan’s National Assembly yesterday accusing India of ceasefire violations and blamed the Pakistan Army of killing five Indian soldiers on August 6 along the Line of Control.
But the tit-for-tat resolution did not carry any support for Singh’s efforts to resume talks with Islamabad, leaving him unhappy, senior officials confirmed to The Telegraph.
It contrasted sharply with Pakistan’s resolution that empowered its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to pursue his peace overtures with India, even as it blamed New Delhi for the spike in violence along the LoC. “The Pakistan resolution strengthens Nawaz Sharif’s hands, ours doesn’t empower the Prime Minister at all,” an official admitted.
The neighbours have been engaged in a relentless chain of allegations and counter-allegations since the August 6 killings, each accusing the other of violating a ceasefire they had agreed to in 2003. The two resolutions that share very similar language and trade near-identical accusations are the latest links in this chain. But while both resolutions put the onus on the other nation to uphold the ceasefire, Pakistan’s placed its trust in Sharif’s approach to India.
“This House endorses the Prime Minister’s forceful statement urging effective steps to ensure the ceasefire on the LoC, not to allow the situation to drift and to take steps to improve the atmosphere by engaging constructively with a view to building trust and confidence,” the National Assembly resolution said.
Both Singh and Sharif have publicly stated their desire to restart a dialogue that was suspended after an Indian soldier was beheaded at the LoC in January. The two Prime Ministers are also keen to meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September.
But today, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj insisted that Parliament’s statement make no commitment on resuming talks when she met external affairs minister Salman Khurshid to draft the resolution, officials said. It didn’t.
Instead, the resolution called the attacks by Pakistani troops unfortunate “at a time when efforts were being made to establish a long-lasting framework of peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties”.
It accused Pakistan of “unprovoked attacks”, the exact phrase used by the ministry of external affairs on Tuesday. The National Assembly in Islamabad had on Tuesday accused India of “unprovoked aggression”.
The Parliament statement also rejected outright the “absolutely baseless and unfounded allegations against the Indian Army and the people of India”, and reiterated the integral nature of Jammu and Kashmir to India.
Parliament passes resolutions to send a message of political unanimity on matters of national interest. But unlike the statement by Pakistan’s National Assembly, today’s resolution was silent on Parliament’s position on Singh’s approach to bilateral ties with Islamabad.