Digvijaya Singh cautions against hawkish line on peace process with Pakistan

D K Singh Posted: Jan 18, 2013 at 0031 hrs
Jaipur As the Congress prepares to address and respond to the public outrage over the recent brutal killing of Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops at its two-day Chintan Shivir starting in Jaipur on Friday, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh cautioned against taking a hawkish line on the peace process, stating that before taking any decision “geographical compulsion” should be borne in mind and also whether India wants “an enemy or a friendly neighbour”.

Slamming senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj for her 10 heads-for-one head remark, Singh told The Indian Express, “It is unfortunate that some politicians are talking irresponsibly. Sushma Swaraj who is shadow PM of her party talks about 10 heads for one head. It may be good to be a hawk but a shadow PM should not make such irresponsible statements.”

He said whether peace talks should continue or not should be left to be decided by the government that is competent to deal with the issue and also to the defence forces.

“Geo-political situation has to be taken into account before we take any step. The PM has rightly said that there cannot be business as usual. It is a strong statement. Peace process was called off several times and resumed. It was a serious incident and it is highly condemnable but at the same time we cannot wish away our geographical compulsion. The issue is: Do we have an enemy or a friendly neighbour? Let all these issues be above divisive politics. In matters of national security, we should put up a united front and refrain from giving statements which reflect divisive politics,” said Singh.

Over the next two days, the Congress’ sub-committee on India and the World, headed by Anand Sharma, will elicit delegates’ views on foreign policy before harmonising them in its resolution on the subject.

Sources said while the document will comprehensively outline India’s foreign policy objectives, there would be special focus on the neighbourhood including Indo-Pak bilateral relations in the backdrop of Pakistan’s hostile action on the Line of Control, concerns about Afghanistan and Sino-Indian relations among others. The party document on India and the World is likely to underline how India has been constantly trying to engage Pakistan in the peace process and how “violent incidents” perpetrated by the neighbouring country could be “counter-productive”, said sources.