No Dilution in Position, No Compromise on Sovereignty: PM

Seeking to defend the Indo-Pak Joint statement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his address to the Parliament, on Wednesday iterated that he was not handed over any dossier on Balochistan by his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, when the two leaders met on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Shram-al-Sheikh, Egypt, on July 16.

Standing firm behind the controversial Indo-Pak joint statement issued in Egypt, which marked the maiden entry of the Balochistan issue in a bilateral document, Singh, in response to Opposition queries, stressed that India’s position had not been diluted on the matter.

Initiating the debate on the ‘Issues arising out of Prime Minister’s recent visits to foreign countries’, former external affairs minister, Yashwant Sinha, targeted the government on several counts, including Washington’s denial to transfer enrichment and reprocessing technology, End User Agreement and climate change.

“The Prime Minister has broken all the pledges he made to both Houses of Parliament as also to the country,” said Sinha.

With his foreign policu under a stringent attack for agreeing to resume the dialogue process with Pakistan, Singh stressed that there was no shift in policy while iterating that there would be “no talks unless Islamabad acts against terror.”

Praising the erstwhile BJP led government for its decision to link bilateral dialogue with Pakistan to terror strikes in India, Singh said that the move had been supported by the Congress party.

He recounted the United Progressive Alliance government’s achievements in the indigenous war on terror and took potshots at the Opposition by refusing any anti-terror lessons from the NDA.

Singh claimed that his government was responsible for Pakistan’s first ever acceptance of involvement in a terror attack in India.

“The dossier handed over to us by Pakistan gives the details about how 26/11 was planned in Pakistan, about the investigation by FIA, a copy of the FIR against the accused, details of finance operations, literature in navigation etc. Lakhvi and Zarar Shah have been caught as masterminds and 13 others have been declared proclaimed offenders under the Anti Terrorist Act and other relevant laws of Pakistan,” he said.

On aspersions being cast over the End User Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) with the United States, Singh said: “You can be assured that our government has taken all precautions to ensure an outcome to guarantee (our) national security and interests. Nothing compromises our sovereignty.”

While admitting that “the general formulation now introduces predictability,” Singh pointed out that earlier such clauses were incorporated “case by case”. He explained that the “generic formulation” has “no provision for unilateral action in regard of inspection”.

He added that India has the “sovereign right” to hold consultations peior to any inspection.

“Any verification has to follow a request which will have to be at a mutually acceptable date and mutually acceptable venue. There is no provision for on-site inspection at any military installations,” he asserted.

the comments, howevet, failed to convince the main Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and UPA ‘outside’ allies Samajwadi Party.

The BJP launched a stinging attack against the UPA targeting Singh for his handling of foreign policy, terror and the mention of Balochistan in the joint statement, which it said will “trouble” the country.

Allies SP, lamented the UPA government’s “poor will-power” to deal with terror and suggested that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should “dump” the Indo-Pak joint statement.

“There is poor will-power to fight terror which has made Pakistan daring in its designs against India,” said SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Accusing the government of “turn around” on its policy towards Pakistan, Yadav suggested that the Prime Minister should “dump the joint declaration.”

Reminding Singh of the UPA stand of no talks till 26/11 perpetrators were held, Yadav questioned the reasons behind the shift in stances.

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