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Ball is in Pak's court over talks with India, says BJP foreign affairs chief


London, Jun 28: A dialogue between India and Pakistan is unlikely in the near future until there is "tangible action" against terrorist groups emanating from the neighbouring country, a senior BJP leader said on Friday.

Ball is in Paks court over talks with India, says BJP foreign affairs chief

Vijay Chauthaiwale, Head of the BJP's Foreign Affairs Department and a member of the ruling party's National Executive, reiterated comments made by external affairs minister S Jaishankar recently that the scope for talks remains bleak until Pakistan gave up its "industry of terrorism".

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"The ball is in Pakistan's court. They have to decide what kind of a relationship they want (with India)," said Chauthaiwale, addressing an event "India's Election Results and the Way Forward" at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London on Friday.

He added: "We are looking for friendly relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan, there is no question about it. But unless there is tangible action against the terrorist outfits in Pakistan, I don't see things going forward. "BJP as a political party does not have any ideological compulsions to talk to Pakistan. We will do it purely on the national interest."

The senior BJP and RSS leader admitted that the strike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan's Balakot area earlier this year in response to an attack on security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir did "play out in favour of the BJP" during the general election, and that non-action on the part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government could have "adversely affected" the results.

Overall, Chauthaiwale attributed the success of the BJP in the recent elections to the development agenda of Modi, which had "really transformed lives" and resulted in a "cascading impact" in favour of the BJP government. He also took aim at the western media for being too "preoccupied" with a narrative focussed on the negatives around issues such as demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax (GST), farmer distress and communal tensions. "The foreign media picked up isolated cases and extrapolated it to generalisations," he said.

Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, IISS Senior Fellow for South Asia, highlighted that the UK-based think tank's analysis ahead of the May 23 Indian general election results was among the few western organisations to predict a return to power for the Modi government. He asked panelist Shishir Bajoria, Member of the BJP's Election Management Committee of West Bengal, for an analysis of the big win by the BJP in the eastern state.

"A lot of central schemes got delivered to the state and the voter is concerned with what is delivered," said Bajoria. As the ruling party's Foreign Affairs Department, Chauthaiwale has previously ruled out the possibility of dual nationality for the Indian diaspora but said he was confident that non-resident Indians (NRI) would have a vote in time for the 2024 general election.

"There are some logistically hurdles, therefore the only option is proxy voting. The guidelines will be issued by the Electoral Commission. By 2024, there will be a mechanism for NRIs to vote in the Indian general elections," he said.


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