Afghanistan: BJP clueless about protecting India's interest, says Salman Khurshid

Demanding that govt reveal what it discussed with Taliban, Congress leader Salman Khurshid said Congress will cooperate and support Centre on Afghanistan issue as it is a "matter of national security"

Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid (File photo)
Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid (File photo)
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PTI

Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Saturday alleged that the Centre had initially turned a blind eye to the Afghan situation and the BJP is clueless about protecting India's interest in the region.

Demanding that the government reveal what it discussed with the Taliban, Khurshid, a former external affairs minister, said the Congress would cooperate and support the Centre on the Afghanistan issue as it is a "matter of national security".

"The Centre initially turned a blind eye to the Afghan situation as if it was a problem only related to the US and its allies. There are serious concerns about security and threat to our national interests due to the ongoing situation in Afghanistan. The BJP is clueless about protecting India's interest in the region," he said while addressing a press conference in Kolkata.

"The government has spoken to Taliban. They should now tell us what was discussed. The countrymen should know this. The Congress party stands solidly behind protecting India's interests and expects a mature political and diplomatic response from our government. We will cooperate and support the Centre regarding the situation in Afghanistan as it is a matter concerning national interests," Khurshid said.

Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal met senior Taliban leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai on Tuesday and conveyed India's concerns that Afghanistan's soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism.

The meeting took place at the Indian embassy in Doha at the request of the Taliban side and came two weeks after the outfit seized control of Kabul.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said the discussions also focused on the safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan and the travel of Afghan nationals, especially members of minority communities, to India.

Khurshid also slammed the Centre's National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) policy, claiming that it was aimed at "looting" the people of the country and selling off India's assets.

"The anti-people policies of this government, just like NMP, aim at looting the people and sell India's assets created by using public money over the last 70 years. The government has mishandled the economy and does not know what to do now. As a last resort, they are selling everything. This is a huge tragedy; it is something everyone should oppose," he said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month announced Rs 6 lakh crore National Monetisation Pipeline that will look to unlock value in infrastructure assets across sectors ranging from power to road and railways.

Khurshid said the privatisation policy of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was different from that of the BJP as the UPA government's strategy was never to sell strategic assets and profit-making companies.

On the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls due next year, Khurshid said as of now, the Congress is focusing on increasing its organisational strength.

"Presently, the Congress and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are focusing on increasing our strength in Uttar Pradesh," he said.

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