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Published On: Mon, Aug 20th, 2018

India denies Modi called for dialogue in ‘congratulatory letter’ to Pak PM Imran Khan

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 IMRAN-20NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: Contradicting earlier claims of Pakistan’s newly-appointed Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, India said their Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote a ‘congratulatory letter’ to Mr. Imran Khan but it doesn’t mention a call for ‘dialogue’.
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.
According to India Today and other Indian media forums quoting ‘credible government sources’ that Mr. Modi didn’t express his wish for dialogues in letter to Pakistan PM, but it did mention ‘India is committed to peaceful ties.’
The Media reports stressed that PM Modi didn’t push for a dialogue between the two countries. According to Times Now News Modi’s letter states, “Polls and the smooth transition strengthen belief in democracy.” It adds that Modi said shared belief will bring peace and prosperity in the subcontinent and make it free from terrorism and violence.”
It further quotes PM Modi as saying “we have a commitment to build good neighbourly relations” and “pursue meaningful and constructive engagement for the benefit of people in the region.”

“The contents of the letter are what is usually written in a congratulatory letter. This is in contradiction to the claims made by the Pakistan Foreign Minister,” the report added. Earlier, Qureshi said there was a need for continued and uninterrupted talks with India. “We are neighbours. We have long-standing issues, both of us know these problems. But we have no other option but to engage in dialogue. We cannot afford adventurism.”

“These issues are complicated and we may face hurdles in resolving them, but we must engage. We will have to admit that we are facing problems, we must admit that Kashmir is a reality,” he added.

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.
Meanwhile, 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.(With Agency Inputs ).

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