ISLAMABAD: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday his country was willing to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan through peaceful bilateral dialogue in an atmosphere ‘free from terrorism and violence’.
In a message felicitating Premier Nawaz Sharif on Pakistan Day, Modi expressed India’s desire to build good neighbourly relations with Pakistan.
According to a statement issued by India’s High Commission in Islamabad, Modi extended ‘warm wishes’ for Nawaz’s good health and well-being as well as for peace and progress for the people of Pakistan. “Greetings to the people of Pakistan on their national day,” Modi said on his official Twitter handle.
The greetings come at a time when the two neighbours are struggling to reengage after years of acrimony and recrimination. The two nations agreed to start a comprehensive bilateral dialogue in December last year but the process stalled after an attack on the Pathankot airbase in Indian Punjab left at least 7 security personnel dead.
Pakistan wants ‘normal’ ties
Islamabad’s top diplomat in New Delhi Abdul Basit said on Wednesday that Pakistan was looking for ‘normal’ ties with India on the basis of ‘mutual respect and interest’ as he called for resolution of all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, between the two hostile neighbours, according to the New Indian Express.
Speaking to reporters at a reception held at the High Commission in New Delhi, Basit voiced hope that the impending arrival in India of the JIT probing the Pathankot assault would be able to do their work ‘productively’.
“Let the team come. We will see. It’s a positive development, I think. We hope the team would be able to do its work productively,” he said of the JIT. Speaking about the foreign secretary-level talks, Basit said no date has been finalised but hoped that a meeting would take place ‘sooner rather than later’.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2016.