Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday described India’s response to Pakistan’s peace overtures as “discouraging” and said the Kashmir issue will have to be resolved for peace and stability in the region.
Addressing the Pakistani community in Washington soon after arriving in the US for an official visit, Sharif said Kashmir is the “bone of contention” between Pakistan and India.
“If New Delhi is serious about improving bilateral ties with Islamabad, the issue of Kashmir will have to be resolved,” he was quoted as saying by Geo News.
The Indian response to Pakistan’s desire for better bilateral ties had been “discouraging”, he said. The problem of Kashmir will have to be resolved for regional peace and stability, he added.
Ties between India and Pakistan hit a new low in August following the cancellation of talks between the national security advisors over Islamabad’s insistence that the Kashmir issue should be on the agenda. India has said the talks should focus on the curbing of terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil.
Ahead of Sharif’s arrival in Washington for talks with President Barack Obama, foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that Pakistan wants the US to play a role in resolving the “core issue” of Kashmir to ensure strategic stability in South Asia.
“It is the responsibility of the US and the international community to help resolve the problem of Kashmir, which was the main issue with India,” Chaudhry said.
“During the Prime Minister’s visit, we will talk about the tension with India on the Line of Control,” he told the Pakistani media.
Pakistan wants good and peaceful ties with all its neighbours and Sharif had attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in in New Delhi for this purpose, but “no positive response was received from India”, Chaudhry was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan.
Obama will host Sharif at the White House on October 22. On his arrival in the US, Sharif was received at Andrews air force base by Assistant Secretary of State Peter Selfridge and accorded a guard of honour by the US military.
Besides Obama, Sharif will hold discussions with vice president Joe Biden and several Cabinet members. He will also interact with members of the US Senate and the House of Representative.