Need terror-free atmosphere for talks, says Modi

New Delhi, 27/05/2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a meeting at Hyderabad house in New Delhi on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Photo: R_V_Moorthy

New Delhi, 27/05/2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a meeting at Hyderabad house in New Delhi on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Photo: R_V_Moorthy   | Photo Credit: R_V_Moorthy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reached out to Pakistan on its National Day and called for a bilateral dialogue in a “terror-free atmosphere” in a letter to his counterpart Nawaz Sharif amid a fresh controversy over the Pakistan High Commission inviting Kashmiri separatist leaders to the annual celebrations as has been the routine.

The External Affairs Ministry too issued a strong but measured response that there is no role for a third party, reiterating India’s long-held position that the Kashmir issue should be addressed bilaterally. Minister of State for External Affairs V. K. Singh put in a brief appearance at the mission in the evening where several Hurriyat leaders including Syed Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Omar Farooq were present for the celebrations.

Writing to his Pakistani counterpart Mr Nawaz Sharif on the occasion of the neighbour’s National Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for bilateral dialogue to resolve issues in a terror free atmosphere. The PM has evidently chosen to overlook the controversy being generated in a section of the media over the proposed participation of Kashmiri separatist leaders in a function at the Pakistani high commission to celebrate the national day on Monday.

“It is my firm conviction that all outstanding issues can be resolved through bilateral dialogue in an atmosphere free from terror & violence, Mr. Modi tweeted.

In another tweet he said: “I have written to Pakistan PM Mr. Nawaz Sharif, conveying my greetings on the National Day of Pakistan.”

Observers see Mr. Modi’s statement as a mellowing down of the tough stance on dialogue with Pakistan. The government had in August last year cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit met Kashmiri separatist leaders ahead of the talks despite calls by the India to not go ahead with it. After a lull, last month the government resumed dialogue under the garb of the Foreign Secretary’s “SAARC Yatra”. This letter is seen as a direct outreach to Pakistan towards resumption of dialogue.

No role for Hurriyat: India

Contrary to the tough stand in the past, this time however the official response of the government of India was limited to reiterating that Hurriyat had no role in the talks between India and Pakistan.

In response to a question on the Pakistani High Commissioner’s statement that India has no objection to Hurriyat leaders being invited on Pakistan National Day, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin stated: "The Government of India prefers to speak for itself.”

“Having repeated it on so many occasions there should be no scope for misunderstanding or misrepresenting India's position on the role of the so called Hurriyat,” he added.

Mr. Akbaruddin reiterated there are only “two parties” and there is no place for a third party in resolution of India-Pakistan issues and added that the only way forward to proceed on all outstanding issues is a peaceful bilateral dialogue within the framework of Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration.

Basit underlines Nawaz Sharif’s vision

Speaking at the National Day celebrations at the High Commission in Delhi, Mr. Basit underlined the importance of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s vision of “Peace for development and development for peace.”

He claimed that Pakistan was keen “to settle all the issues with India, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, through dialogue” and added that said that it was now “high time to normalize relations” and address the challenges facing the region to exploit myriad of opportunities unleashed by globalization.

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Printable version | May 21, 2020 8:11:11 PM |

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