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Controversy Over Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘Respect Pakistan’ Comment

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New Delhi: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar stirred controversy as a video clip from an interview resurfaced, where Aiyar advocated for dialogue with Pakistan, referring to the nation as “respected” and highlighting its possession of nuclear capabilities.

In the interview with Chill Pill Mani Shankar Aiyar on April 15, Aiyar remarked, “They are also a sovereign country (Pakistan). They are a respected nation. You can talk tough with them (Pakistan). But start the dialogue. You are walking with a gun which yielded you nothing. Tensions are escalating. And if a mad person comes there, what will happen to the nation? They have an atom bomb. We also possess the atomic bomb. But if a mad person detonates our bomb at Lahore station, so within eight seconds, eight moments, its radioactivity will reach Amritsar.”

He continued, “So you should prevent the use of atomic bombs. But, if you start a dialogue with them (Pakistan) and encourage them (by considering them as), then they should start thinking about their atomic bomb. But if you snub them, then a mad person will come and detonate the bomb. Then what will happen?”

Aiyar also indirectly criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging a lack of efforts to engage with Pakistan over the past decade. “We must understand that to become the ‘Vishwaguru’ (global leader), it is important to show that we are working rapidly to solve (all the bilateral issues) with Pakistan. There has been no effort (on the part of the government) to (reach out to Pakistan) in the last ten years,” he added.

Aiyar’s statements drew sharp criticism from several BJP leaders, with Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar asserting that Aiyar’s remarks reflected the ideology of the Congress party. “Rahul’s Congress ‘ideology’ is fully visible in these elections,” he posted on X, highlighting various perceived issues with the Congress party’s approach.

This recent controversy adds fuel to the ongoing debate surrounding India-Pakistan relations, especially in the context of the heated political atmosphere surrounding the elections.

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