Amid War of Words, Sharif Says He Wants Good Ties With India


ISLAMABAD: Islamabad: Amidst exchange of barbs, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday struck a conciliatory note saying he wants to establish good relations with India.

The statement came during the premier’s meeting with Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit in Islamabad. Basit briefed Sharif on the state of Pakistan, India relations with particular reference to latest developments.

Just yesterday, Sharif said that Pakistan’s enemy wants to sabotage the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

 “A neighbouring country has already voiced its reservations,” Prime Minister Sharif told an all-party conference (APC) in Quetta.  By ‘a neighbouring country’ the premier meant India which has long been accused by Pakistani civil and military leaders of fomenting terrorism in Balochistan and elsewhere in the country as part of its attempts to destabilise Pakistan. 

Recent statement by Indian cabinet ministers that New Delhi must ‘neutralise terror with terror’ lent credence to such accusations.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and ex-ambassador Tariq Fatemi was also present during the meeting.

Basit arrived from New Delhi early this morning and briefed officials at the Foreign Ministry about recent statements by Indian leaders.

Gen Raheel: Kashmir and Pakistan ‘Inseparable’

In an address to cadets at Pakistan’s National Defense University (NDU), Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif delivered one of his strongest speeches on Kashmir to date.  He described Kashmir as an “unfinished agenda” of the partition of British India in 1947, and underlined that Kashmir was “inseparable” from Pakistan. The speech was shared by social media through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Twitter feed.

Sharif noted that the Kashmir issue would have to be resolved in order to attain peace with India; he proposed a resolution in line with previous United Nations resolutions. ”While we wish peace, stability in the region, we want Kashmir’s just resolution in the light of UN resolutions and as per aspirations of Kashmiris to bring lasting peace in the region,” he remarked. Sharif additionally discussed the changing contours of warfare in South Asia. He noted that Pakistan could keep up in the region, and was capable of defending its territory and interests.

He continued that “while [Pakistan’s] enemies are supporting terrorism to stoke sub conventional conflicts and destabilise [sic] our country … [Pakistan is] fully determined and capable of defeating nefarious designs.” Sharif went on to criticize the use of proxy forces. He noted that Pakistan was “opposed to the use proxies versus other countries and would not allow any country to use proxies versus Pakistan.” Sharif’s remarks on proxies and the use of terrorism by Pakistan’s enemies were directed at India.

Stop harbouring wrong notions on Kashmir: India

 Reacting strongly to Pakistani Army chief General Raheel Sharif’s remarks that Kashmir was an “unfinished agenda” of the Partition, India today said Pakistan can keep “harbouring the wrong notions” but that will not make any difference to actual conditions. 

“I think this is the notion they will keep harbouring. They can keep harbouring that wrong notion. It will not make any difference to actual conditions,” Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said.  

He was asked about Sharif’s remarks that Kashmir was an “unfinished agenda” of Partition in 1947 and was “inseparable” from Pakistan. 

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