Prepare to deal with UPA 3, not Modi: Khurshid to Pakistan

Prepare to deal with UPA 3, not Modi: Khurshid to Pakistan

Even as Pakistan is indicating its willingness to deal with a new government in India, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said Islamabad was wasting time preparing for engagements with Narendra Modi’s government in New Delhi, as the BJP would not win the current elections.

“I think they are wasting their time giving so much unnecessary attention to something that will not happen,” Khurshid told journalists in New Delhi. He was reacting to indications from within the Pakistan government about its willingness to engage with Modi’s government if he led the BJP to power.

The external affairs minister also reacted to Pakistani Army Gen Raheel Sharif’s recent comment on Kashmir, which triggered strong reactions from both the BJP and the Congress.

“Pakistan faces difficult challenges today from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who obviously have their masters in the al-Qaeda. And I think the armed forces and security forces in Pakistan would be well advised to address the challenges that come from the TTP and other unwholesome forces attacking civilians in Pakistan and causing innocent people hurt and enormous amounts of anxiety,” he said, reiterating New Delhi’s position that Kashmir was and would remain an integral part of India.

Modi has been criticising the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government for its allegedly soft policies on Pakistan. He, however, recently said his government would follow a “balanced” foreign policy in which no one should be able to intimidate India and neither should India’s rise become a cause of concern for any other country.

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate also said he would follow the foreign policies of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government headed by A B Vajpayee. The remarks encouraged Islamabad to express hope for quick resumption of a bilateral engagement with New Delhi if he takes over the top office. Pakistan’s envoy to India, Abdul Basit, said Islamabad found Modi's statements “very positive”. Khurshid, however, on Saturday sought to advise Islamabad to rather prepare to deal with another Congress-led government in New Delhi.

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