India wants ‘neighbourly relations’ with Pakistan, says Modi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that his country wanted “normal and neighbourly relations” with archrival Pakistan.
But he went on to add that it was incumbent upon Islamabad to create a conducive environment free from “terrorism and hostilities”.
“The onus is on Pakistan to take necessary steps in this regard,” he told Nikkei Asia in an interview ahead of his visit to Japan to attend the G7 summit. The Indian PM was asked about ties with the nuclear armed neighbour.
India-Pakistan relations have been frozen since 2019 when New Delhi changed the status of occupied Jammu and Kashmir state, ended its special privileges, and converted it into a federal territory.
Both countries claim Kashmir in full but rule it in parts. They have gone to war over it three times since independence from Britain in 1947.
But Pakistan has maintained that India has to withdraw unilateral Kashmir move for any peace talks. “We are ready and willing to engage and address India’s concerns but India will have to address our concerns too,” Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told Indian media earlier this month as he visited Goa to participate in the Shangai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers.
He became the first foreign minister to visit India in almost a decade.
In his interview, Indian PM Modi also said that the relationship between the nuclear-armed neighbours can only be based on mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interest.
“India is fully prepared and committed to protect its sovereignty and dignity,” said Modi. He arrived in Hiroshima on Friday as Japan’s special guest for the summit that continues until Sunday.
“Peace and tranquility in the border areas are essential for normal bilateral ties with China,” he said, adding normalizing ties with China would benefit the wider region and the world.
Ties have been strained since the troops of the two countries clashed on their disputed Himalayan frontier, killing 24 soldiers, in 2020.
It was the deadliest clash between India and China in more than four decades.
Modi will join leaders from the United States, Japan and Australia on the sidelines of the G7 summit for a gathering of the Quad members, which aim to contain China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.
Brazil’s President Inacio Lula da Silva and Modi are attending a summit of the G7 rich nations in Hiroshima at the invitation of Japan, this year’s host of the G7, which also includes the US, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada.
(With input from Reuters)
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