“Want normal relations with Pakistan but…”:  MEA on Pak PM’s call for talks with India

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Days after Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif showed his willingness to talk to India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said that India wanted neighbourly ties with Pakistan but there should be an atmosphere free from terror and violence for such a relationship. 

During a weekly briefing of MEA, Bagchi said, “We have seen reports regarding the comments by the Pakistan PM on this issue. India’s clear and consistent position is well known that we desire normal relations with all our neighbouring countries including Pakistan. For this environment free of terror and hostility is imperative.”

Earlier, on Tuesday, the Pakistan PM showed his willingness to talk with India and stressed that there is “nothing against anyone”.

While addressing the opening ceremony of the Mineral Summit in Islamabad, Shehbaz Sharif said that to use build the nation they are ready to talk with the neighbours.

Despite a history of strained ties between the two nations, since their independence in 1947, the Pakistan PM seeks to promote valuable engagement as the country is going through some economic issues.

“With our neighbours, we are prepared to talk to them, provided that the neighbour is serious to talk about serious matters on the table because war is no more an option. Pakistan is a nuclear power, not as an aggressor but for our defence purposes. We had three wars fought in the last 75 years. And what happened is it generates more poverty, unemployment and lack of resources to finance, education, health and well-being of the people,” PM Sharif said.

He stressed that this is not the way to adopt, but to fight through economic competition in the region.”Because if there is any nuclear flashpoint, who will live to tell what happened? So (war) is not an option,” PM Sharif said and added that he knows that both countries cannot become normal neighbours unless “abnormalities are removed” and unless the serious issues are understood and addressed through peaceful and meaningful discussions.

India and Pakistan’s relations were never normal since the formation of the latter country. India has repeatedly raised its concern over Pakistan’s support of cross-border terrorism and has asserted that terror and talks cannot go together.

Following the Indian government’s decision in August 2019 to abolish Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate it into two Union territories [J&K and Ladakh], the Pakistan government, then led by Imran Khan, expelled India’s ambassador to Islamabad and halted bilateral trade.

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