Our correspondent in India, Hu Bofeng
A number of Indian media reported on the 20th that Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, Imran Khan, recently wrote to Indian Prime Minister, Modi, calling for resumption of the “diplomatic dialogue” between the two sides underway since the beginning of 2016, and expressing the hope that Foreign Ministers of the two countries would be in New York this month. for the UN General Assembly meetings. It is believed that Imran Khan has repeatedly called on Pakistan and India to resume dialogue. If the Pakistani and Indian Foreign Ministers can clinch the talks during the UN General Assembly session, it will be the first diplomatic breakthrough after his assuming office.
The original letter disclosed by India’s World News TV shows that Imran Khan addressed Modi in the letter with the honorific “Sahab” (meaning Sir/friend) and thanked him for his congratulations on his appointment as Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 18. The letter expressed gratitude and appreciated Modi’s remark that “the only direction of development of the relationship between the two countries lies in constructive engagement”. Imran Khan suggested that the two Foreign Ministers meet during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly to discuss matters such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Council of Ministers meeting. He also invited Modi to attend the SAARC Summit in Islamabad and visit Pakistan. It was claimed that Imran Khan had previously received a letter from Modi, saying that dialogue was needed between Pakistan and India to resolve disputes, including Kashmir.
The letter (from Modi), disclosed by the Indian media, was subsequently confirmed by the Pakistani side. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohamed Faisal, said that Imran Khan’s letter to Modi showed that “the Prime Minister is responding positively to Prime Minister Modi and his proposal in a positive manner. Let us solve problems through dialogue”. In addition, the Pakistani side also said that it was “in touch” with India to promote a meeting between the two Foreign Ministers during the UN General Assembly. However, Indian government sources subsequently told New Delhi TV that the Indian side does not have a plan as yet to restart the dialogue and suggested that the prerequisite for resumption of dialogue is resolution of the issue of terrorism. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Kumar, said on 20th afternoon that India had rejected Pakistan’s invitation to Modi to attend the SAARC Summit, saying that “the current atmosphere was not conducive for the Summit to take place.” However, he responded positively to the (proposal for a) meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, saying that “the Foreign Ministers will meet during the UN General Assembly session, and that the specific time and venue will be worked out by both sides.” However, he also stressed that “this is only a meeting, not a resumption of dialogue. And that the agenda for the meeting had not been decided as yet.”
The Times of India commented that in January 2016, the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot near the Pakistani border “had suffered a terrorist attacks from Pakistan”. And that that was the immediate trigger for the bilateral dialoguevgoing into limbo. “The attitude and policies of the Palestinian side on cross-border terrorism have not changed” to this day. The US suspension of the security assistance program for Pakistan reflects US worries about the regional security situation and its dissatisfaction with the Pakistani side’s “anti-terrorism” deliveries Therefore, India should be careful while responding to the letter from the Prime Minister of Pakistan.