New Delhi not ready for talks with Islamabad, MEA rejects Pakistani media report
Ministry of External Affairs on Thurday rejected a Pakistani media report claiming New Delhi was ready for talks with Islamabad. Addressing the media, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had only sent letters in response congratulatory messages from their counterparts in that country.
A report in the Express Tribune on Thursday claimed that PM Narendra Modi and EAM S Jaishankar responded to Islamabad's renewed call for dialogue by conveying New Delhi's desire to engage with all countries, including Pakistan, for the prosperity of the region.
Responding to the queries regarding the replies to congratulatory messages by Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "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, Raveesh Kumar 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'," Raveesh Kumar said.
Asked if there was any reference to holding talks in the letters, the MEA said there was no such reference.
"I think we've made it clear time and again that Pakistan has to take action which is irreversible. Unless we are convinced that action has been taken on the ground, and not the temporary action which we have seen several times in the past. We won't be fooled by some cosmetic action," Raveesh Kumar told media.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar blamed Pakistani media for distorting facts. "We have seen the mentality of distorting facts in Pakistan media in this case, like how they distorted this simple straight-forward letter. Letter says that India wants to maintain cooperative relation with all nations in South Asia," raveesh Kumar said.
PM Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan exchanged pleasantries last week during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek.
It is also learnt that Imran 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 Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood 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.
Imran 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, PM Narendra 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 PTI, ANI)