NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘statesman’ for his decision to visit Pakistan to meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.
“That’s like a statesman. Padosi se aise hi rishte hone chahiyen (This is how it should be with neighbours),” External Affairs Minister Swaraj said in a tweet.
The Congress Party however, rejected Swaraj’s claim, saying it was “pre-arranged”.
“We are very clear that the Prime Minister is there to promote only private business interests and not India’s national interest which should be supreme. Diplomacy is serious, it must have gravitas and predictability,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told media here.
“It cannot be frivolous, otherwise it will implode on Shri Narendra Modi’s face,” he added.
The Congress leader further rejected Swaraj’s claim that the visit was spontaneous.
“The External Affairs Minister’s claims, very foolishly so, that it’s statesman-like. We completely reject her claim. We have definitive information that this was pre-arranged,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to Pakistan on Friday to meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif, both reaffirming to resume high-level peace talks.
It was the first time an Indian Prime Minister visited Pakistan in more than 10 years.
Prime Minister Modi had earlier made the surprise announcement to visit Sharif on Twitter as he wound up his visit to Afghanistan with an address to the Afghan parliament.
"Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi," Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet.
Indian Air Force jumbo jet land in the late afternoon at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport where Prime Minister Sharif flanked by his cabinet ministers, received Prime Minister Modi.