On Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif’s new offer for talks, India’s 3-line response | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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On Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif’s new offer for talks, India’s 3-line response

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Aug 03, 2023 09:54 PM IST

Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said the two countries cannot be “normal neighbours” unless serious issues are addressed through meaningful discussions

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday responded to Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s latest offer of talks to normalise bilateral relations by saying that an “environment free of terror and hostility is imperative” for any engagements between the two countries.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made the latest offer of talks while addressing a business summit in Islamabad on Tuesday. (AFP File Photo)
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made the latest offer of talks while addressing a business summit in Islamabad on Tuesday. (AFP File Photo)

Sharif’s latest offer of talks, made while addressing a business summit in Islamabad on Tuesday, came about six months after he made a similar proposal in an interview with AlArabiya news channel. Sharif said the two countries cannot be “normal neighbours” unless serious issues are addressed through meaningful discussions.

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ALSO READ: Why there are no takers for Pak PM’s latest talk offer in Modi government

Asked about Sharif’s remarks at a weekly media briefing, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Indian side had seen the comments by the Pakistan premier.

“India’s clear and consistent position on this is well known. We desire normal neighbourly relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan. For this, an environment free of terror and hostility is imperative,” he said.

Bagchi’s comments were in line with New Delhi’s stated position that Pakistan must crack down on terror groups and not allow the use of its territory for anti-India activities. The two sides have not held any substantial talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, though back-channel contacts between security officials led to the resumption of a ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) in early 2021.

India’s scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and a string of terror attacks blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), including the 2019 Pulwama suicide bombing that killed 40 Indian troopers and brought the two sides close to war, have taken bilateral ties to an all-time low.

Bagchi responded to another question on Pakistan and China signing six agreements for the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by saying that India has always objected to this project as part of it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). “We have a clear position that we can’t support any project that passes through PoK,” he said.

Prime Minister Sharif and Chinese vice premier He Lifeng witnessed the signing of the agreements in Islamabad on Monday as the two countries marked 10 years of CPEC.

Bagchi also rubbished Pakistan’s plans to hold events on August 5 to oppose the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status as “propaganda” on the Kashmir issue. “Jammu and Kashmir are integral parts of the country, we don’t take these things seriously,” he said.ALSO

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