Sunday June 16, 2024

India says wants good neighbourly ties with Pakistan

By Farooq Aqdas
August 05, 2023

ISLAMABAD: India has responded to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s willingness to hold talks with the neighbouring country.

Although Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif did not name any country in this context, Indian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that India also wanted to have good neighbourly relations with Pakistan. But such relations should be free of fear of any kind of violence, and should be developed in a free environment. During his weekly press briefing, the spokesperson for Indian Ministry of External Affairs said, “We have seen the reports regarding the comments of Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif. However, an environment free from ‘hostility’ is essential,” he said. A few days ago, PM Shehbaz Sharif, while addressing the opening ceremony of mineral summit in Islamabad, said: “We are also ready to talk to the neighbouring countries for nation-building provided that the neighbouring countries also discuss serious issues.” He said that the two countries could not become important neighbours until serious issues were resolved through peaceful and meaningful dialogue, as wars are no longer an option. A large number of foreign personalities and diplomats as well as Army Chief General Asim Munir were also present. After Pakistan expressed its willingness to talk to the neighbouring country, some countries appreciated the gesture. Reacting to a fresh offer of talks between the two neighbours, the US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said, “As we have been saying for a long time, the United States supports and will continue to support direct dialogue between Pakistan and India.” The level of diplomatic relations between the two countries has been very limited for the past several years and only the charge d’affaires are performing the duties of the high commissioners in the high commissions of Pakistan and India. After the Mumbai attacks in 2008, there was no concrete progress between the two countries, and relations between them further strained on August 2019, when India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. In response, Pakistan also terminated trade relations with India and expelled Ajay Bisaria, the Indian high commissioner to Pakistan at that time. After which, India also took similar action.