Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed disappointment over Islamabad making a spectacle of New Delhi’s peace efforts by reaching out to Hurriyat leaders, and said India has no hesitation in discussing any outstanding issue with Pakistan within the bilateral framework.
India last week had called off foreign-secretary-level talks with Pakistan slated for August 25 in Islamabad after Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit met Hurriyat leaders in spite of New Delhi’s objections. India later said talks with Pakistan can be held only under the bilateral framework of Simla pact and Lahore declaration that don’t include any other stakeholder — such as the Hurriyat — in talks on the Kashmir issue.
“India has no hesitation in discussing any outstanding issue with Pakistan within the bilateral framework established under the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration”, Modi said Friday, a day ahead of his Japan visit.
“We, therefore, were disappointed Pakistan sought to make a spectacle of these efforts and went ahead with talks with secessionist elements from Jammu and Kashmir prior to the meeting of foreign secretaries”, Modi added.
“Recalling his “very good meeting” with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif in May, Modi said “India desires peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties with Pakistan.”
At the meeting, the two leaders had also decided foreign secretaries of both nations should meet to explore ways of taking the dialogue process forward. Sharif, along with other south Asian leaders, had attended Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.
“We together decided we will continue to make efforts to build peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties with Pakistan. But I might add that any meaningful bilateral dialogue necessarily requires an environment that is free from terrorism and violence”, the PM said.