Modi government ‘sponsors’ Karachi Lit Fest, another U-turn in foreign policy towards Pakistan

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Indian government led by the BJP on Monday was condemned by its political rivals for its another ‘U-turn’ on its foreign policy towards Pakistan.

Congress’s Manish Tiwari slammed the Centre’s Narendra Modi government after it emerged that the government’s flagship cultural body, Indian Council for Cultural Relations’ (ICCR), was one of the sponsors of the just concluded Karachi Lit Fest.

modi government karachi lit

Tiwari termed the development bankruptcy of foreign policy under Narendra Modi government.

He told Times Now, “It’s another example of complete and absolute bankruptcy of the Modi government when it comes to their policy towards Pakistan. Strangely, this sponsorship of Karachi Lit Fest by the ICCR, which is the government of India entity for all intents and purposes comes on the same day when the Unites States of America has denied a visa to the deputy chairperson of the Pakistani Senate.”

Karachi Lit Fest was first organised in 2010 and this is the first time the Indian government has chosen to sponsor the event.

A Times of India report, on the other hand, said that the government was determined not to give up on people-to-people contact, even if political differences with Islamabad were insurmountable.

ICCR director general Amarendra Khatua told Times of India, “We are working to increase India’s cultural footprint across the world under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, including in Pakistan.”

The development came at a time when the Hindutva sympathisers continued with their opposition to any cultural ties with Pakistan. Not so long ago, the right-wing brigade primarily the sympathisers of the BJP in media and Bollywood had erupted in anger against Pakistani actors being allowed to work in Bollywood films.

Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan were barred entry in India preventing them to be part of the promotion activities of their films Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees respectively.

Members of civil society and Bollywood fraternity, who supported the need for a cultural ties with Pakistan, were instantly branded anti-nationals by BJP supporters including some senior functionaries of the saffron party.

Karachi Lit Fest being sponsored by the Indian government is another example of the Centre’s double-speak and politics of convenience.

It appears that the Centre’s Modi government has no coherent policy. Modi had famously roared from the studio of his friend, Rajat Sharma’s India TV, to teach Pakistan a lesson in a language it understood the best. That was before Modi became the prime minister.

Since becoming the prime minister, Modi’s policy towards Pakistan has been a mix of utter confusion. He first invited his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, to his swearing in ceremony in May 2014. But, his government also cancelled the NSA-level talks on the grounds that talks and terror can take place at the same time.

Barely few months after adopting hawkish line against Pakistan, Modi surprised all with unscheduled stopover in Lahore to attend a birthday party organised by Sharif.

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