PMO refutes Modiís claim on Sir Creek
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The Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday rejected Chief Minister Narendra Modi's claims made in a letter to the Prime Minister on Sir Creek and pointed out that negotiations with Pakistan were merely the continuation of dialogue process that was started after former prime minister A B Vajpayee visited Lahore in 1998.
Modi has claimed that talks were being held between India and Pakistan to hand over Sir Creek to the neighbouring country.
"These discussions have been carried out by successive governments of India since the dialogue process began in 1998, and continued after Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to Lahore. The allegation in the letter that Sir Creek is about to be given to Pakistan is untrue. Therefore, the other conclusions drawn by Modi from this alleged fact are also not real," the PMO said in a statement. It said Modi's "unsubstantiated allegations" were a "mischievous" attempt on the eve of elections in Gujarat.
Modi, however, hit back suggesting that the Prime Minister has evaded a direct response to his apprehensions and requested him to avoid taking a decision on this issue in a hurry while he was busy in Assembly elections.
"PM has failed to answer my questions on Sir Creek. He should assure the nation that he has taken no decision to give Sir Creek to Pakistan," Modi tweeted dismissing PMO's statement. "I request PM not to make any decision on giving away of Sir Creek on 15th Dec. On Sardar Patel's Punya Teethi, he should not commit this sin," he added.
Earlier today, Modi in his letter requested the PM to stop talks with Pakistan on the issue. "I am writing on a serious issue of talks being held on Sir Creek being handed over to Pakistan. Any attempt to hand over Sir Creek to Pakistan would be a strategic blunder considering the history and sensitivity of the region," Modi wrote.
He added, "Handing over Sir Creek to Pakistan will endanger our energy security as Kutch, Saurashtra and North Gujarat have vast potential of oil and gas both off shore and onshore." "I am writing to you at this juncture as I was told that a decision is being taken on Sir Creek issue on December 15," he said.
Giving details of the letter at a press conference, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said that due to the election code of conduct, Modi wrote the letter as "a concerned citizen and not as a chief minister". However, she evaded a question on how Modi came to know that the Centre was planning to hand over Sir Creek to Pakistan.
Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who was in Ahmedabad, said that "if some one says that the central government is giving Sir Creek away to Pakistan, it is a ridiculous suggestion".