Who do we talk to in Pakistan to decide red lines, asks Modi

Published: June 28, 2016
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PHOTO: REUTERS

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said it is hard to decide who to speak to about peace in Islamabad. “The first thing is that with whom in Pakistan will you decide the ‘lakshman rekha’ (redlines) – with the elected government or with other actors?” Modi said in his first interview to a private Indian media since becoming prime minister in 2014.

“That is why India will have to be on alert all the time. India will have to be alert every moment. There can never be any laxity in this,” he told Times Now editor in chief Arnab Goswami on Monday.

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Defining new parameters for resuming talks, Modi said that was the spirit in which he had extended an invitation to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to visit New Delhi for his inauguration in 2014 and it was the same spirit in which he paid a surprise visit to Lahore in December 2015.

Talking about peace negotiations and engagement, the Indian leader said his country always wanted friendly ties with its neighbours and that there was no debate on that. “We want to live in harmony and peace.”

He went on to say that those entrusted with negotiating must go about their business and those tasked with defending the borders must fulfil the responsibility entrusted to them.

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 Modi further said that the single biggest achievement of his government was that it had managed to convince the international community about India’s position. “Now I don’t have to explain to the world about India’s position. The world is unanimously appreciating India’s position,” he added.  “It is Pakistan which is finding it difficult to respond”.

“If we had become an obstacle, then we would have had to explain to the world that we are not that obstacle. Now we don’t have to explain to the world. The world knows our intentions,” he said explaining that the world was also accepting India’s argument on terrorism.

“Today, the world has to accept what India has been saying about terrorism. India’s dialogue on terrorism, the losses India has suffered due to terrorism, the losses suffered by humanity, the world is now acknowledging that,” he said asserting that this was the process India aimed to take forward.

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Talking about the failed NSG bid, Modi blamed the hype before the meeting that made the setback seem larger. “My trip to the United States, my speech in their Congress and the respect shown towards India created a lot of hype. Had it not been hyped so much, there would not have been so much criticism on the NSG issue.”

Modi went on to say that New Delhi has begun a coordinated effort for the NSG membership including engaging with China on the subject. “The first thing is that we have an ongoing dialogue with China and it should continue to happen,” he said noting that it was not necessary to have similar views to have a conversation.

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“I can say that China has been cooperating with India to search for solutions. On some issues, it’s a question of principles for them. On some issues, it’s a question of principles for us. On some issues they differ with us and there are issues on which we differ with them. There are some basic differences. But the most important thing is that we can speak to China eye-to-eye and put forth India’s interests in the most unambiguous manner.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (42)

  • Brekhna
    Jun 28, 2016 - 8:54AM

    Very aptly put ! while the civilian government is on the face, it is the military which is running the show in Pakistan. The military bureaucracy thrives on enmity with India. Thus any overture of friendship by the civilian government in Pakistan is followed by leg-pulling by the deep state. As long as a powerful democratic government is not in place in Pakistan, lasting peace is not possible in between India and Pakistan. Recommend

  • ghazal
    Jun 28, 2016 - 9:11AM

    do not know perception in Pakistan but perception in India mainly and rest of the world in general is that, permanent / realistic peace between Pakistan and indai is not possible till Pakistani army has no other option. be it case of ayaub-1965, zia 1988, Musharraf there after. after all Pakistani army s biggest stake holder, be it political social or economicRecommend

  • Mirza Asif Baig
    Jun 28, 2016 - 9:15AM

    We know why he is giving Polite Statements. Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Jun 28, 2016 - 9:17AM

    A statement itself is slap on the face of government and establishment. It is unfortunate, an independent country like Pakistan has no single view on important policy matters including foreign relationship.
    Series of diplomatic disasters in recent times remind how helpless Pakistan become in the world community.
    The leadership (political & miltaray) needs to understand, we can’t operate in isolation while continuously living in fool’s paradise. Let’s put our house in order and prioritize health relationship with neighbors.

    To start with, please appoint foreign Minister first. Recommend

  • sincere
    Jun 28, 2016 - 9:26AM

    “Today, the world has to accept what India has been saying about terrorism”. yes all the world know that u send persons like kul bushan yadav to organise terrorist activities in Pakistan and yet Pakistan is to blame. Hats off to the World.Recommend

  • Tumare
    Jun 28, 2016 - 9:56AM

    God Im sick of Modi. What effort has he made that the world appreciates. The world eats what he feeds it and why should we care what the world thinks. Both sides are de stabilizing the other side. Yes Indians you do the same thing we do, pakistan is just terrible at forming a narrative. Backing off every time theres an attack will never solve anything. We have to push through instead of going wild with the blame game. Recommend

  • LOL
    Jun 28, 2016 - 10:43AM

    the comments of Indians on this website are enough for Pakistanis to know how much they hate usRecommend

  • Amit
    Jun 28, 2016 - 10:44AM

    @Mirza Asif Baig:
    this is not a polite statement, its an open attack on pakistan and its administration where democratic government acts as a puppet to army, where political leaders have to go and appraise army about political, economic, diplomatic issues and where army has grown so arrogant that they dont even care to salute their head of government. he means its a failed state taken over by army.Recommend

  • Asif
    Jun 28, 2016 - 10:47AM

    Talk to Gen Raheel Sharif because Nawaz is busy making money but then what does Raheel Sharif knows about Global Warming (being in the blanket and then without.) May Allah Bless Pakistan.Recommend

  • shafi
    Jun 28, 2016 - 10:54AM

    @Brekhna, can we not progress without good relation with india, do we have NO guts to progress ,friendship GOOD, but is it primary factor for our progress? and to remind u Modi is a man who confessed to be terrorist during his speech in Dhaka ,he posted that man as a NSA who too confessed to be involved in spying in pak for 6 yearsRecommend

  • Maggi
    Jun 28, 2016 - 11:05AM

    For your kind information Pakistan has a foreign minister. His name is Gen Raheel Sharif.Recommend

  • Salim Khan
    Jun 28, 2016 - 11:05AM

    The world knows who the real decision makers are in Pakistan. Who act from behind the facade of political leadership. Its a unique system where by one demolishes the other thereby Pakistan is ensured not to progress.Most interesting thing is that the people of Pakistan love it!Recommend

  • wiserneighbour
    Jun 28, 2016 - 11:14AM

    As long as Pakistani army is the decision makers in Pakistan ,peace won’t prevail in Pakistan nor between India and Pakistan.You can’t eliminate ideologies.Puppet democracies do more harm than good.Who decides the foreign policy of Pakistan? Why Army general travels around the world ? Pakistan is completely isolated in the international stage.Recommend

  • Kickass
    Jun 28, 2016 - 11:42AM

    Talk to the one you have invested in.Recommend

  • General Raheel Shareef
    Jun 28, 2016 - 12:46PM

    Talk to the hand!Recommend

  • Arshad
    Jun 28, 2016 - 12:46PM

    This has been the chronic psychological problem of Indians of Indian leadership. They do not take Pakistanis as normal human beings how to act and react like everybody else, that is what led to partition & God forbid this may lead to more future problems- Mr. Modi accept Pakistan as fact of naïve and Pakistanis as normal human being.Recommend

  • Arshad
    Jun 28, 2016 - 12:52PM

    Indians are past masters in evading real issues and trying to hoodwink the other party, they have not learned a lesson from past. All that Jinnah wanted was fool poof sage grounds for Indian minorities in the sub continent but Nehru, Patel etc were trying to entangle in a rigmarole, a time came when Jinnah said partition and nothing else. Now, again India is trying to side track the main issue of Kashmir in talks and entangle Pakistan in trade, commerce, industry etc. It is good for once Pakistan leadership has classified that Kashmir is the root cause and has to be dealt with.Recommend

  • Jun 28, 2016 - 12:54PM

    Just stay away and let us clean the mess you and your agencies have created. Recommend

  • nadeem
    Jun 28, 2016 - 1:03PM

    As a Pakistani, I have to reluctantly agree with the statement that our nation’s foreign policy is formulated by generals, whose personal interests and self-serving ‘institutional interests’ are in conflict with the interest of 200 million Pakistanis. They have been making foreign policy since at least 1977, and the result is a humiliated and derided Pakistan on the world stage (not to mention the long list of internal problems caused directly as a result of bad foreign policy) Recommend

  • Haris
    Jun 28, 2016 - 1:57PM

    @wiserneighbour: Pakistan isolation? Should make you happy but you know that this is not a fact. Pakistan is strategically too important for world powers. America, Russia, UK & China. This is what troubles you. Shed your psychologically of insecurity? learn to live in real world. No wishful thinking.. Recommend

  • Arshad
    Jun 28, 2016 - 2:03PM

    Thank you for your wishful thinking. Democratic leadership is running Pakistan & you should have no doubt about it. Internally whether they are influenced by this or that is important for you. You have complicated matters in the past resulting in harm to you and the country. If you had a straight mind even partition could have been avoided. If you don’t believe us please read “India-Pakistan-Partition” by Jaswant Singh.Recommend

  • Abrar R
    Jun 28, 2016 - 2:45PM

    Forces which nabbed kulbhushan are the ones you should be talking too and not people who haven’t uttered a word on the rrest. It’s cut and dry Recommend

  • N.S
    Jun 28, 2016 - 2:51PM

    Talk to Sharif[s]. Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav
    Jun 28, 2016 - 6:06PM

    Modi has explained the fundamental issue of Pakistan. Who represents Pakistan??? Is it civilians or is it military? Civilians comes with thumping majority but the moment they try to get warmed up to Indians, TUQ from Canada lands up, Imran Khan jumps on container and keep threatening about Umpire. Civilians back of and TUQ goes back to Canada, IK jumps off the container. Civilians are put back into their place. Whats the point of talking to such a weak civilian govt? India just need to secure border. invest money in police in J and K and move army to borders and wait for 3-4 decades till Pakistan has a civilian govt that can look eye to eye with Army. Then may be India and Pakistan can start discussion about PoK.Recommend

  • Zulfiqar Baig
    Jun 28, 2016 - 7:26PM

    We Pakistanis feel like we don’t have Pak PM. We don’t have even foreign Minister. Recommend

  • OSD
    Jun 28, 2016 - 7:48PM

    Modi was bred on RSS venom and that is all that he has given to the world. If one wants to see, they only have to look at how the insurgency in Indian occupied Kashmir is at its most intense level and the rise of hindutva has polarised Indian society. At the same time, all national projects are stalled and India has turned into the world’s largest importer of weapons. It is not us but India itself which has to deal with the nuisance which is called Narendra Damodas Modi.Recommend

  • Imran Ahmed
    Jun 28, 2016 - 7:52PM

    Civilians must assert their ascendancy over the military which is a subordinate arm of the government. Without doing this, we cannot govern ourselves, let alone negotiate foreign affairs.Recommend

  • Jon Snow
    Jun 28, 2016 - 9:13PM

    @OSD: Don’t worry about India & Modi, they’re doing great. The nuisance in the world is the country which is known as the exporter of jihadis all over the world, the country which is host to almost every disignated terrorist & where OBL was found. Its the country which is an economic basket case & is perpetually dependent on some country or the other be it US, Saudi or China. The world has recognized that nuisance country & Modi has helped them recognize it.Recommend

  • Sunil
    Jun 28, 2016 - 9:14PM

    No need of talking because Pakistan has nothing to offer, all they want is free, like they have been getting from Americans, who now know the mindset, now dependent on China. All they can do is take loan, after loan, and where the money goes, is unaccounted for.Recommend

  • Junaid
    Jun 28, 2016 - 9:48PM

    If we can not be friends let us do not be enemies of each other.Recommend

  • RB
    Jun 28, 2016 - 10:42PM

    This “Strategically Important” has no meaning in this new world. We are no longer in “Cold War” period. Please wake up.Recommend

  • doom
    Jun 28, 2016 - 11:22PM

    Well, in this one particular instance, he does have a point there. Recommend

  • S
    Jun 29, 2016 - 12:59AM

    Pakistan is always a convenient scapegoat for Indian failures. In this case, NSG debacle offcourse. Modi Jee! Focus on your own country. Our army may have a bigger role in our economic and foreign affairs but we do have a democratically elected Govt. Given the challenges and dangers Pakistan faces including your country, it is given. Having a personal relationship with PM doesn’t pay off. You need to take into account of all stakeholders. Saying this you are insulting the mandate of Pakistani nation. However, what to expect from Indians and their leadership to understand Pakistan complexities as to them Pakistanis are devil incarnated. Recommend

  • Bharat Patel
    Jun 29, 2016 - 4:19AM

    Something I have always said

    No government can talk to an official Government and keep on looking over the shoulder to state/army proxiesRecommend

  • Lal Malohtra
    Jun 29, 2016 - 5:08AM

    Diplomatic bullyism. Can some teach his diplomacy, its norms, and gestures.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jun 29, 2016 - 6:33AM

    If there is something credible and worth saying…….there will always be a credible ear to listen.Recommend

  • Foreigner
    Jun 29, 2016 - 7:14AM

    Does anybody know who can speak for Pakistan?Recommend

  • Mortal
    Jun 29, 2016 - 8:44AM

    @S: Even though your foreign office is claiming credit for India’s NSG denial, nobody in India is blaming Pakistan for it as we know Pakistan has no clout or credibility to block India on the international stage. If you check Indian media, everyone is blaming one country- China.Recommend

  • Azeez
    Jun 29, 2016 - 9:44AM

    Former Indian minister of state for external affairs Dr. Shashi Tharoor’s words….”In India the state had an army and in pakistan the army had a state.Recommend

  • Cussin' Curamba
    Jun 29, 2016 - 12:20PM

    one Sharif says “kulbhushan discussed during Rouhani’s visit’; rouhani’s office denies; he flies back; four or five weeks later, Grand Ole Foreign Opry says ‘ Kulbhushan not discussed during rouhani’s visit”; also claims 17 letter written by the other sharif; which is why India was denied NSG membership; very impressive….seriously..!!Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Jun 29, 2016 - 9:13PM

    @Mirza Asif Baig:

    Yeh, it is the Indian “baghal mein chhuree and moan pe Ram Ram” Indian foreign policy. Recommend

  • Omer
    Jul 6, 2016 - 9:25PM

    @sincere: nobody in world cares about these fake videos , where a person is abducted and made to say as per wisehes of ISI, and if India asked for the consular access that is denied coz they know truth will tumble out Recommend

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