Pune blast exposes India ‘U-turn’ on Pakistan talks: BJPFebruary 14, 2010
NEW DELHI: India’s main opposition party said Sunday that a bomb blast at a restaurant in the western city of Pune left “the whole nation” questioning the government’s decision to resume talks with Pakistan.
“What has happened in Pune is a grim reminder about the fragility of our security system, and the adventurous track that we are walking,” Arun Jaitley, a senior leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, told reporters in New Delhi.
Saturday’s bomb ripped through a restaurant popular with students and tourists in central Pune, killing nine people and injuring more than 50.
It came a day after India and Pakistan agreed to revive a dialogue that India had frozen after the November, 2008 Mumbai attacks, which it blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
While declining to speculate on who was behind the explosion, Jaitley said it underlined fears that the government had acted prematurely in offering renewed talks with its neighbour and arch rival.
“When terror threatens India, then not talking is also a legitimate diplomatic option,” Jaitley said.
“The whole nation is wondering today as to what has changed that we decided to change our diplomatic position.”
In the wake of the Mumbai massacre New Delhi set two preconditions for resuming talks: that Pakistan crack down on militant groups operating on its side of the border and cooperate in bringing those behind the attacks to justice.
“The fact is that the peace process should commence when those two preconditions India laid down are substantially satisfied,” Jaitley said.
“In fact, nothing seems to have changed, but the government of India took a U-turn.”
Under the agreement announced on Friday, the foreign secretaries of india and Pakistan are scheduled to meet on February 25.