NEW DELHI : Right after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj defended India at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday in a strong rebuttal of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the same forum, the Congress did a balancing act — it backed Sushma but criticised the government for not calling a special session of Parliament to declare Pakistan ‘a terrorist state’.
“Whenever an Indian representative speaks on foreign soil, it’s not the time for politics. The whole country stands with Sushma Swaraj. Hers was a valiant effort,’’ senior Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, but with the caveat that the lack of “any concrete action’’ on part of the government days after the Uri attack made her job of defending the country a tough one.
The Congress claimed that had Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated some “tangible” steps, like withdrawing most favoured nation status or he imposed economic sanctions on Pakistan, the minister’s job would have been easier. She could have cited the rightful domestic anger after the Uri terror attack to seek similar follow-up action against Pakistan from the world body, Sighvi added.
The most favoured nation status was granted to Pakistan during the Congress-led UPA’s tenure, a favour which wasn’t returned to India by the western neighbour, which reneged on its promise. The Congress also blamed the government for not scaling down the High Commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi in retaliation against the Uri strike that left 18 Indian soldiers dead.
“Instead of calling a special session of Parliament to declare Pakistan a terrorist state, the Prime Minister has chosen to speak at a political gathering in Kerala,’’ Singhvi added.
From Mayawati’s BSP to the otherwise-pacifist Left parties, the Opposition has been demanding retaliatory measures against Pakistan.