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In a letter to Imran, Modi seeks meaningful engagement with Pakistan

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a letter to his new Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, has called for bilateral engagement, sources confirmed on Monday. In the first official communication with the new administration in Islamabad, Mr. Modi called for building good neighbourly ties for security and prosperity in the region.

“The Prime Minister expressed India’s commitment to building good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan and pursuing meaningful and constructive engagement for the benefit of the people of the region,” said an official source.

‘India has not called for dialogue so far’

The Indian response came soon after the newly-appointed Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Mr. Modi had mentioned dialogue in his letter. However, the official source said India had not called for dialogue so far.

“Prime Minister wrote of constructive approach or engagement for the benefit of the people, by which he meant Pakistan should create a conducive atmosphere.”

The Prime Minister’s call for engagement comes in the backdrop of recent Indian insistence that New Delhi will hold talks only if Islamabad acts against terror suspects and outfits.

Mr. Modi also reminded Mr. Khan to rid the region of violence, the source said. “He recalled their telephone conversation, in which they spoke of their shared vision to bring peace, security and prosperity in the Indian subcontinent, in order to make it free of terror and violence, and to focus on development.”

Mr. Qureshi, in his first remarks upon taking charge, said he would bridge the trust-deficit with neighbours and try to build new bridges. “Coming to the table and talking peace is our only option. We need to stop the adventurism and come together. We know the issues are tough and will not be solved overnight, but we have to engage,” he said.

New government criticised for catering to terror outfits

Pakistan’s new government, however, has already drawn criticism for catering to extremist and terrorist organisations and individuals that are proscribed by the United Nations.

Mr. Qureshi indicated that Pakistan would stay focussed on full implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which he described as a game-changer.

“We cannot turn our cheek. Yes we have outstanding issues. Kashmir is a reality; it is an issue that both our nations acknowledge. India and Pakistan have to move forward keeping realities before them,” he said.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 10:52:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pm-modi-sought-constructive-engagement-with-imran-khan/article24736708.ece

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