Relations with Pak only when they are free from terror, violence: India
New Delhi: Days after Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif offered to hold bilateral talks, India on Thursday said it always wanted normal neighbourly ties with Pakistan but there should be an atmosphere free from terror and violence for such a relationship.
The comments by External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi came when asked at a media briefing about Sharif’s offer last week to hold talks between the two countries to resolve outstanding issues such as Kashmir.
“We have said that we have always wanted normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan. But there should be a conducive atmosphere in which there is no terror, hostility or violence. That remains our position,” Bagchi said.
In an interview with UAE-based Al Arabiya news channel last week, Sharif said that Pakistan has learnt its lesson after three wars with India and now it wants to live in peace with India, if “we are able to resolve our genuine problems”.
“We have three wars with India and it only brought more misery, poverty and unemployment to the people,” Sharif said.
“My message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) is that let’s sit down at the table and have serious and sincere talks to resolve our burning issues like Kashmir, where flagrant violations of human rights are taking place day in and day out,” he said.
However, the Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office later said negotiations are not possible without India revoking its 2019 actions on Kashmir.
India has been maintaining that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan while insisting that the onus is on Islamabad to create an environment free of terror and hostility for such an engagement.
The ties between India and Pakistan came under severe strain after India’s warplanes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot in Pakistan in February 2019 in response to the Pulwama terror attack.
The relations further deteriorated after India in August 2019 announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories.