New Delhi: India on Thursday said there is no change in its stance towards Pakistan of desiring an atmosphere free of terrorism in order for talks to happen, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and new Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif exchanged courtesy letters.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in a media briefing, said India’s demand for an atmosphere free of terrorism for talks to happen is a legitimate right.
“Our stand is very simple, there should be an atmosphere free of terrorism, only in such an atmosphere can talks happen.”
“Both PMs have exchanged courtesy letters, but our main issue has been that such an atmosphere be created where there is no terrorism. This is a legitimate right, without which there can be no talks,” he said.
“There is no change in our stand,” he said to a question whether India has changed its stance since the election of the new Pakistan PM earlier this month.
In a letter congratulating PM Shehbaz Sharif, PM Modi had asked him to build “normal neighbourly relations” between the two countries which would be for “the benefit of the region”.
The letter was sent after Sharif took charge after Imran Khan lost the vote of confidence in the Pakistan National Assembly.
The letter sent on April 12 called for “constructive engagement” and reminded the Pakistani side that “India remains committed to advancing peace, security and prosperity in the region”.
Sharif in response expressed his desire for peaceful ties with India and resolution of “all the outstanding issues, including Kashmir”.
Sharif thanked PM Modi for congratulating him and said that his country desires peaceful and cooperative ties with India.
PM Modi had after Sharif was sworn in greeted him in a tweet and said, “India desires peace and stability in a region free of terror so that we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the well-being and prosperity of our people.”
In his response, Sharif tweeted: “Thank you Premier Narendra Modi for felicitations. Pakistan desires peaceful & cooperative ties with India. Peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes including Jammu & Kashmir is indispensable. Pakistan’s sacrifices in fighting terrorism are well-known. Let’s secure peace and focus on the socio-economic development of our people.”