In a clear message amidst the chill in bilateral ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked Pakistan to walk away from terror if it wants to have dialogue with India.
Outlining his approach for an integrated neighbourhood, Modi said his vision for country’s neighbourhood puts premium on peaceful and harmonious ties with entire South Asia.
“But, India alone cannot walk the path of peace. It also has to be Pakistan’s journey to make. Pakistan must walk away from terror if it wants to walk towards dialogue with India,” he said while addressing the participants at the government’s geo-political flagship initiative “Raisina Dialogue-II”.
He also recalled several initiatives taken by him to normalise ties with Pakistan including travelling to Lahore.
There is a deep chill in Indo-Pak ties due to series of cross-border strikes including in Pathankot and Uri by Pakistan-based terror groups.
In an obvious reference to Pakistan, the Prime Minister also asserted that India’s belief in delinking terrorism from religion, and rejecting artificial distinctions between good and bad terrorism, are now a global talking point.
“And, those in our neighbourhood who support violence, perpetrate hatred, and export terror stand isolated and ignored”,” he said.
Referring to India’s ties with China, Modi, at the opening of the three-day Dialogue, said it was not “unnatural” for two large neighbouring powers to have some differences but both sides should show sensitivity and respect for each other’s core concerns and interests.
“I see the development of India and China as an unprecedented opportunity, for our two countries and for the whole world. At the same time, it is not unnatural for two large neighbouring powers to have some differences.
“In the management of our relationship, and for peace and progress in the region, both our countries need to show sensitivity and respect for each other’s core concerns and interests,” Modi said, adding he and Chinese President Xi Jinping have sought to tap the vast area of commercial and business opportunities in the relationship.
Asserting that the century belongs to Asia, he said the sharpest trajectory of change is happening in the continent and there are large and vibrant pools of progress and prosperity that dot the landscape of this region.
“But, rising ambition and festering rivalries are generating visible stress points. The steady increase in military power, resources and wealth in the Asia-Pacific has raised the stakes for its security.
“Therefore, the security architecture in the region must be open, transparent, balanced and inclusive. And, promote dialogue and predictable behaviour rooted in international norms and respect for sovereignty,” he said.
In his address, the Prime Minister gave a run down of India’s foreign policy priorities, security interests in the Indian Ocean and bilateral engagement with neighbouring countries, Gulf nations and major powers including the US, China and Russia.
He also emphasised that ‘Sab Ka Saath; Sab Ka Vikas’ is not just a vision for India but a belief for the whole world.