Border standoff: Congress distances itself from Sidhu's remarks, says atmosphere not conducive for dialogue with Pakistan

The Punjab minister has insisted that dialogue and diplomatic pressure will count for in seeking a long-term solution to terror outfits operating across the border.

Published: 28th February 2019 07:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2019 07:59 PM   |  A+A-

Navjot Singh Sidhu (Photo| PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Thursday said the current atmosphere is not conducive for a dialogue with Pakistan and termed the suggestions made in this regard by its leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu as his personal opinion and not that of the party.

"There is a time to act and there is a time to talk. Dialogue can only take place when the atmosphere is conducive for dialogue and the current atmosphere is not conducive for a dialogue," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.

Asked about the comments made by Sidhu, he said, "If Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu has an opinion, that is his personal opinion and it is not the opinion of the Indian National Congress."

The Punjab minister has insisted that dialogue and diplomatic pressure will count for in seeking a long-term solution to terror outfits operating across the border, amid strain in India-Pakistan ties in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack and subsequent developments.

"I stand by my conviction that dialogue and diplomatic pressure will count for a great deal in seeking a long-term solution to the presence and practice of terror outfits that operate within and across the border," the cricketer-turned-politician said in a two-page statement titled "We have a choice."

"The solution to terror is peace, development and progress and not unemployment, hatred and fear," he said.

Tewari said the inescapable facts are that Pakistan has been sponsoring a proxy war against India and Punjab is also one state which has suffered from the proxy war and unprovoked cross-border terror using semi-state actors.

He said going back to 1979-1980 "the first recipient of that proxy war or that unprovoked cross-border terror using semi-state actors was Punjab".

"For 15 long years, Punjab suffered because of the terror unleashed by the ISI and its instrumentality," he said.

He also said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman displayed exemplary courage, and exemplary dignity and exemplary poise in the face of adversity.

"We would like to demand that Pakistan immediately return Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to India," he said on the IAF pilot detained by Pakistan.

Tewari condemned the treatment meted out to the pilot, whose videos in captivity were released on Thursday.

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