India rubbishes Pak media claim on talks, bats for conducive climate

The ministry of external affairs has clarified that the letters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and foreign minister S Jaishankar was in response to congratulatory messages sent by the Pakistan government.

The Indian government on Thursday (June 20) rubbished a report by a Pakistan based newspaper that claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar have responded to “Islamabad’s call for dialogue” in response to congratulatory letters from the Pakistan government.

“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar have responded to Islamabad’s renewed call for dialogue by conveying New Delhi desire to engage with all countries, including Pakistan, for the prosperity of the region,” The Express Tribute report claimed on June 20.

Responding to the queries regarding the replies to congratulatory messages by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the Ministry of External Affairs clarified that Modi and Jaishankar’s letter were in response to congratulatory messages from Islamabad.

“As per the established diplomatic practice, PM and EAM have responded to the congratulatory messages received from their counterparts in Pakistan. In their messages, they have highlighted that India seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for Ministry of External Affairs.

In their messages, they have highlighted that India seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan, he said.

“In his message, PM said for this, it is important to build an environment of trust, free of terror, violence and hostility. EAM also emphasised the need for an atmosphere free from the shadow of terror and violence,” Kumar said.

Asked if there was any reference to holding talks in the letters, the MEA said there was no such reference. Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Khan exchanged pleasantries last week during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek. It is also learnt that Khan congratulated Modi on his election victory during their first face-to-face interaction, which took place in the Leaders Lounge at the SCO venue. However, there was no meeting between the two leaders. The exchange of pleasantries came more than two weeks after Khan and Qureshi wrote separate letters to their Indian counterparts, pushing for restarting the bilateral talks.

India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January 2016 by a Pakistan-based terror group, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together. Khan also made a telephone call to Modi on May 26 and expressed his desire to work together for the betterment of people of the two countries. On his part, Modi said creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism was essential for fostering peace and prosperity in the region.

(With inputs from agencies)