It’s in Islamabad: India claims it has always placed “primacy on regional peace,” but it has attached conditions to normalising ties with Pakistan. The response from New Delhi comes a few days after Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif emphasised the need of good relations with India’s neighbour. The premier’s comments have prompted the Modi administration to once again place a condition on restarting discussions with the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
In a routine press conference, Arindam Bagchi, spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, responded to the news by saying that New Delhi “aspires to secure normal connections with Pakistan,” but that this goal is contingent on creating a “environment that does not promote terrorism.” He claimed that India’s relations with its neighbouring country had deteriorated because of terrorism, animosity, or bloodshed. In light of New Delhi’s insistence that a terror-free environment be maintained before peace negotiations can begin, the BJP-led administration is resorting to any and all means to support terrorism in Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan released several intelligence-based dossiers that laid out the government of Modi’s use of terrorism against Pakistan.
This new turn of events comes only days after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif invited Narendra Modi to hold “sincere talks” to address pressing concerns including Indian illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). The Pakistani prime minister has called for talks to end the Kashmir conflict. Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recently extended an olive branch to New Delhi, inviting his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for conversation to resolve Kashmir and other concerns, amid the simmering tensions between the two nuclear-armed states.
In his message this week, Sharif invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sit down with him and work on thorny problems like the one in Kashmir. He argued that the two countries should stop wasting time and money on their unending dispute and instead learn to coexist as neighbours, saying that Pakistan and India must learn to live together as neighbours. In reminiscing about past battles with hostile countries, the prime minister claimed that neither side benefited from the fighting but instead suffered more poverty and hardship. Instead of buying more weapons, he argued, money should be spent on reducing poverty and improving people’s access to healthcare and education.
God forbid war breaks out between the two sides, but Shehbaz warned no one will survive to tell the tale because of the nuclear capabilities of both nations. Shehbaz tells the UN General Assembly that Pakistan wants “long-term peace” with India, but that this will be achieved only once Kashmir is resolved. Human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir were also brought up in the interview, and the premier offered peace as well as acknowledged the misery of Kashmiris. He spoke out against the persecution of minorities under India’s Modi administration, demanding that authorities put an end to atrocities in the contested valley. The prime also acknowledged the efforts of Saudi and UAE authorities in bringing the two sides together.