India says talks with Pakistan only after 'terror' stops

Indian foreign ministry says, 'Our stand is clear. We want an environment free of terror'


AFP April 29, 2022
PHOTO: FILE

NEW DELHI:

New Delhi on Thursday ruled out any formal talks with Pakistan unless India's neighbor stops supporting "cross-border terrorism".

The recent appointment of Shehbaz Sharif as new prime minister has raised hopes of an easing of tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals, who have fought a series of wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

But India said there would be no negotiations unless Islamabad ensures an atmosphere of peace and diplomacy.

"Our stand is clear. We want an environment free of terror," Arindam Bagchi, India's foreign ministry spokesperson, told reporters at a Thursday press conference.

Only then is dialogue possible, it "doesn't matter what the government on the other side says."

Bagchi added that a recent exchange of letters between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Sharif were part of routine diplomatic courtesies.

"This is our valid demand and there has been no change on our stand," he said.

Modi in early April congratulated Sharif on his appointment as Pakistan's new leader while reiterating his desire for "peace and stability" in the region "free of terror".

In his own public message Sharif said Islamabad wanted "better relationship with India" but cautioned that no lasting peace would be possible without a resolution to Kashmir's status.

Sharif hails from an elite political family seen by some in India as more conciliatory towards New Delhi than Khan.

Unusually for a senior Pakistani politician, Sharif has actually visited India, in 2013 when he was chief minister for Punjab -- a state that was split between the two countries during the bloody 1947 partition of the sub-continent.

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