Indian government said no decision has been made on Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan this November to attend the SAARC summit . This clarification came from India’s external affairs ministry after India’s High Commissioner in Islamabad,Gautam Bambawale said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is looking forward for visit despite tense India-Pakistan ties..
“Decisions and announcements of such nature are not made so far in advance,” India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.
“I can’t say about the future but as of today Prime Minister Modi is looking forward to visiting Islamabad for the Saarc summit in November,” the Dawn quoted Bambawale as saying at an interactive session of the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations.
He also said while India and Pakistan must certainly discuss the entire range of issues, they must keep their focus on economy which he described as a “low-hanging fruit”.
Bambawale said it was India’s desire to see a Pakistan which was moderate, prosperous and stable and at peace with itself, its neighbours as well as the rest of the world.
He admitted that trust and confidence was lacking in relations between New Delhi and Islamabad.
The road to normalization of Pakistan-India relations, he said, lay through greater trade and business, the roadmap for which was prepared by the two governments in 2012.
He said the Indian government had been saying: “Let’s work together to get to the bottom of terrorism which was a headache not only for Pakistan but for India and the world.”
In an obvious reference to the Kashmir dispute, Bambawale said the two countries should not be talking on just one issue, rather on all issues.
He said India had taken a stand in the 1960s and 70s that New Delhi and Beijing must talk on the boundary problem before moving on to other issues. But this was reversed in 1988.
Asked about “Indian atrocities” in Jammu and Kashmir, the High Commissioner said Indians were as concerned about the people of Kashmir as anyone else in the world.
But issue of Jammu and Kashmir was domestic and “you should focus on your problems”, he replied.
Bambawale said the problem with China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was that it went through Pakistani Kashmir whose ownership is disputed by Islamabad and New Delhi.
Consular access to Jadhav
He also mentioned how Pakistan had refused consular access to alleged RAW agent Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested in Pakistan, while India gave consular access to a Pakistani terrorist, Bahadur Ali.
“We have offered Pakistani authorities full consular access to him,” he said in reply to a question about Indian involvement in Balochistan.