Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it was his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had shifted the narrative on Kashmir. The man who wanted dialogue with Pakistan and was started the historic Lahore bus service was also the one to get the international community to focus on terrorism that cost lives, instead of geography, he said.
At a prayer meeting for the departed leader, PM Modi said, "On the international stage, India used to face questions about Kashmir. But it was Vajpayee-ji's stand that changed the entire narrative of the world".
The narrative "changed from Kashmir to terrorism and it became a debate between who is for terrorism and who is against it," the Prime Minister said at the meeting attended by two of dominant leaders of Kashmir -- National Conference patriarch Farooq Abdullah and People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti.
Both leaders were present at the funeral to show respect for Vajpayee, who is still remembered in Kashmir for his "Insaniyat, Jamhuriyat, Kashmiriyat" roadmap. The three principles, coined in 2003, were quoted by PM Modi during his Independence Day speech, a day before the former prime minister died.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee had flagged terror in his speech to the UN General Assembly in 2001, weeks after the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks in the US.
He had spoken of the "bitter experience" of India, and in a veiled reference to Pakistan, said, "Some states follow a policy of sponsoring and sheltering them (terrorists). They can only be countered through closely coordinated efforts of the international community".
"Atal Bihari Vajpayee had complete dedication to the country, and an ideal, despite attempts to insult, embarrass him," PM Modi said today.
The BJP has been holding all-party condolence meets across the country for Atal Bihari Vajpayee in keeping with his inclusive politics that added to his stature and helped him win the respect of leaders having opposing ideologies.