Pakistan does not believe in perpetual hostility with India, says Deputy PM Ishaq Dar

Islamabad, June 25 (IANS) Pakistan Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday called on the Modi 3.0 regime to work towards a sober reflection on the future of bilateral relations between the two nuclear-powered neighbours.

In his address at an event here, he reiterated his previous statements about relations with India, stating that Pakistan has always been desirous of having good relations with India.

“To our east, the relationship with India has historically remained troubled. Pakistan does not believe in perpetual hostility. We seek good-neighbourly relations with India on the basis of mutual respect, sovereign equality, and a just and peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Dar said.

However, he also emphasised that while Pakistan would take every step to ensure better relations with India, it would not refrain from responding effectively to any Indian military misadventure.

“We also take every step needed to maintain strategic stability in South Asia and would respond effectively and decisively to any ill-considered military misadventure” in New Delhi, he added.

His statements come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken office for the third consecutive term, heading a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

Dar hoped that the new term of PM Modi would use this opportunity to carve a more sober reflection on the future of India-Pakistan relations.

“In our view, as the BJP-led NDA government starts a new term, it is time for a sober reflection on the future of India-Pakistan relations and the cross-cutting issues affecting the entire region,” he said.

He contended that India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and 35A to change the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir through what he termed as a unilateral and illegal action on August 5, 2019, had adversely affected the overall environment of bilateral relations between the two countries.

“The onus remains on India to take necessary steps to create an enabling environment for purposeful engagement and result-oriented dialogue on all issues,” he said.

However, he said that in this context, it is equally important that India “eschews its relentless smear campaign against Pakistan”, stops its alleged “state-sponsorship of terrorism and extrajudicial killings inside Pakistan”, and “takes tangible steps to move the relationship in a positive direction”.

–IANS

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