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BJP wants anti-terror accord scrapped

September 21, 2006

NEW DELHI, Sept 20: India’s right-wing opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants the joint anti-terrorism mechanism with Pakistan scrapped. The Press Trust of India quoted its senior leader Lal Kishan Advani, former home minister, as saying that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “must have signed under pressure from some quarters”. Therefore, the joint statement signed by India and Pakistan on the sideline of the NAM Summit in Havana should be scrapped immediately, he said.

Mr Advani declined to elaborate but his senior colleagues have slammed the pact with even more vehemence.

After BJP chief Rajnath Singh’s advice to exercise ‘double caution’ and Arun Jaitley’s probing queries to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the BJP has fielded former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha to mount a full-scale attack on the statement.

Terming the joint statement as “an unprecedented capitulation of India before Pakistan on the issue of cross-border terrorism”, Mr Sinha said the document had “wiped out in one stroke all that had been achieved by India in its war against terror through years of hard work with the international community and bilaterally with Pakistan”.

The Indian Express said the BJP fine-tuned its stance on the agreement signed with President Gen Pervez Musharraf at a meeting of senior leaders at the residence of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee earlier this week.

Mr Sinha said the BJP “will not be a mute spectator to the surrender of vital national interests”. He added that “cross-border terrorism and dialogue process can not go on simultaneously”.

The former BJP foreign minister said the proposed resumption of foreign secretary-level talks “in the background of increased violence from Pakistan is not acceptable to us”.