Congress targets BJP chief over ‘limited knowledge of international affairs’

New Delhi : The Congress on Friday ridiculed BJP president Amit Shah for his statement that US support for India’s bid to enter the multi-lateral export control regimes MTCR and NSG will “pave the way for India to become an important arms exporter”, by saying that the BJP “needs to understand that MTCR was about controlling proliferation of missiles and not becoming an arms exporter”.

Congress also stressed that no significant decision in favour of India came out of the NSG meeting that took place on Thursday night in Vienna.

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It said China was a spoiler in India’s bid to enter the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“Never ever in the past, in almost three decades, has China taken such an absolutely hostile position to India on the question of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.

“The most amusing comment on the Prime Minister’s foreign visit actually came from the BJP president (Amit Shah). He said that if India becomes a part of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), we will become a major arms exporter.

“When I read the statement in the paper, I thought it could have been a misquote, but then I went back and checked and it was not a misquote — possibly the BJP needs to understand that the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is about controlling proliferation of missiles,” said Tewari.

“It is not about making a country into a net arms exporter. So, this is the limited understanding which the BJP and its president unfortunately have about international affairs,” he added.

To a question that with regard to Switzerland, Mexico and USA, India needs their support for entry into NSG and whether it was not an accomplishment to address the joint session of the US Congress, Tewari said: “The fact is that it was in September 2008, that the concerted diplomacy of the UPA government broke the Nuclear apartheid which had been in place for two-and-a-half decades, commencing with India’s first peaceful nuclear explosion in 1984.

“It was the UPA government which was successful in getting a waiver from the Nuclear Supplies Group for the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement.

“NSG operates on the process of consensus. Even if one country objects to the entry of a new member, that country unfortunately does not get included. The manner in which this government has conducted its foreign policy over the past two years, rather than consolidating that window which was opened by the UPA, they have in fact, endeavoured to lose that window,” said Tewari.

“And that is why unfortunately, when the NSG met last night (Thursday), on the question of admission of new members essentially to consider India’s application, nothing really came out of that meeting and so in real terms, it has really been a set-back for India rather than something to be proud of,” he added.

Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his five-nation tour, including to the United States, Congress said that ‘not a single new idea came out of his US visit.’

“Insofar as the USA is concerned, in the past 24 months, there has not been a single new idea, a single big idea in the Indo-US relationship. The only one thread which the NDA-BJP Government and the Prime Minister have been taking forth is the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Energy Pact which was incubated and finally consummated during the UPA government,” said Tewari.