The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday expressed “delight” at the decision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend the oath-taking ceremony of India’s PM-elect Narendra Modi.
“This is a delightful piece of news that the Pakistani PM has accepted Modi’s invitation. This is the beginning of a new relationship. It is good news,” said BJP Spokesperson Prakash Javadekar. He said Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar are India’s neighbours “and neighbours cannot be changed”.
India’s secular political party, Congress, reacted cautiously to the development. Outgoing Union Minister Manish Tewari said that the BJP has always maintained that terror and talks cannot go hand in hand. He hoped that after assuming office, the BJP government would raise the issue of ‘slow-paced’ trial of the 26/11 attacks in India, an issue “which had been troubling them”.
He said that the issue of people like Hafiz Saeed should also be raised. “We hope that BJP remains true to the position it has taken over the past 10 years and raises these issues with the Pakistani PM when he comes to India,” Tewari said.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted that he welcomes Sharif’s decision to attend the swearing in ceremony.
“Very glad to hear Pak PM has accepted invite, shows that he can prevail over forces inimical to good relations with India,” he said.
Abdullah added that at the same time, he felt sorry for others taking oath or attending the ceremony “because the only photo-op that will matter now will be the Modi-Sharif handshake.”