In Jammu and Kashmir, while both chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and former CM and opposition National Conference working president Omar Abdullah welcomed talks. But Omar called for sustainability in the talks, which should address skewed issues like Kashmir and other disputes once for all. In a statement here, Mufti who is recuperating after a health issue, , Mufti said he was delighted by Modi’s visit. “This is an evolutionary process and step in the right direction. It indicates Prime Minister’s resolve to enter into a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan,” he stated. His aides recall October 15, meeting with the PM, where Mufti had conveyed that a peace with Pakistan was linked to development and progress in his state. “This initiative, besides being a great step towards improvement of bilateral relations, will also give impetus to the concept of SAARC,” he added.Congress, however, attacked the PM, alleging his endavour was not for promoting India’s national interest or to take forward the roadmap to engage with it on tackling terror but to promote private business interests. In a hurriedly convened press conference, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma asked what assurances he got on bringing back or punishing perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, especially Zakiu Rehman Lakhvi, and on dismantling terror syndicates in Pakistan acting against India.”Questioning the intent behind his visit, Congress rejected claims of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that the Prime Minister’s move was ‘statesman-like’ and said it was “pre-arranged” by a businessman.”We are very clear that the Prime Minister is there to promote only private business interests and not India’s national interest which should be supreme.”Diplomacy is serious, it must have gravitas and predictability. It cannot be frivolous, otherwise it will implode on Shri Narendra Modi’s face,” he told reporters. “This unannounced visit cannot be termed ‘statesman-like. Diplomacy must have seriousness and gravitas,” he said.The Congress leader questioned how many Prime Ministers or heads of states make such detours to wish birthdays, asking if any Indian Prime Minister has landed in another country in this manner in the last 67 years. He also slammed Modi and BJP for adopting a “hawkish approach” during the UPA government and termed any meeting by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his Pakistani counterpart as “anti-national”. The JD (U) leader K C Tiyagi said the “friendship and betrayal cannot go hand in hand” “I am stunned and shocked. At this moment, I can think of beheaded Hemraj,” said Tyagi.Describing it a “pleasant surprise”, BJP leader Tarun Vijay called it a best Christmas gift. “PM’s move will help isolate anti-India and anti-peace forces in Pakistan. It will work like a miracle. It has clearly shown, who wants peace in the region and has put onus on other side to reciprocate, ” he said. Another spokesperson Sidharath Nag Singh said the PM’s move was one of out of box diplomatic venture, as he had invited the leaders of South Asia nations to his oath taking ceremony.

dna Correspondent

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Except Left, Opposition parties decry PM’s move BJP says it’s pleasant surprise