New Delhi: A day after the terror bombing in Pune that killed nine people, the Bharatiya Janata Party Sunday demanded that India's proposed foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan be called off.
'Terror and talks cannot co-exist. When terror threatens India, then not talking is also a legitimate diplomatic option,' BJP spokesperson Arun Jaitley told reporters here.
Foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet in New Delhi Feb 25. This follows India's decision to go back on its earlier insistence that no talks with Pakistan would take place till the masterminds of the Mumbai terror attack were punished.
Jaitley accused the Indian government of taking an unexplained 'U-turn' on its negotiating stand in the peace dialogue with Pakistan.
'So (long) as Pakistan continues building an infrastructure for terror against India, and till such time that there is no cooperation in the context of 26/11, we cannot talk to Pakistan,' he said, referring to the attack on Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists that left 166 people dead.
'The composite dialogue cannot proceed,' Jaitley added.
Jaitely's views were also echoed by his party colleague and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who said her 'party is of firm view that the Indo-Pak talks must not be resumed'.
'Time and again, inside parliament and outside it, even the government has been maintaining that the talks must not be resumed unless Pakistan takes some solid steps to bring 26/11 culprits to book.'
'And both the home minister and the foreign minister have been maintaining that Pakistan has taken no solid step to bring the 26/11 culprits to book,' she told reporters later in the day.
Rejecting the government's contention that 'calling off talks on the ground of terror attack in Pune will amount to falling into terrorists'trap', Swaraj said she was 'not able to comprehend the 180-degree U-turn taken by the government' on India-Pakistan talks.
Jaitley also found fault with the government's announcement to allow Kashmiris who crossed over to Pakistan for arms training in the early 1990s to return to India, saying it would 'legitimise infiltration' of terrorists.
He called it, along with the decision to talk to Pakistan, as 'misconceived and adventurous'.
'It is possible the central government is thinking of softening borders. Today's situation does not permit this. The BJP urges the government to reconsider both these steps - allowing persons from PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) to return and resuming the dialogue with Pakistan,' he added.
The BJP condemned Saturday's bomb blast in Pune which killed nine people and injured 57. The blast took place in German Bakery, a popular eatery.
'The German Bakery is in the neighborhood of a Jewish settlement. The bakery is also visited by foreigners from the Osho Ashram. The targeting of foreign nationals is also intended to create an international impact. This blast establishes that those inimical to India are continuing their war against India,' Jaitley said.
'....Indians will not accept India as a soft state. The government of India must seriously introspect whether our Intelligence collection and security responses are still inadequate. How then was a place visited by David Hadley still unprotected?' he added.
The BJP leader said: 'The recommencement of the dialogue with Pakistan, irrespective of whether Pakistan stops allowing its soil to be used for terror against India, has made utterances of Pakistani leaders and Jehadi groups more belligerent. What has happened in Pune is a grim reminder to all of us about the fragility of our security and the adventurist traps we are walking into'.