India is hindering talks, claims Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif

DC CORRESPONDENT
Published Nov 23, 2014, 6:28 am IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 12:21 pm IST
India was averse to normalisation of relations
Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif
 Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif
New Delhi/IslamabadDuring the telephonic conversation with US President Barack Oba-ma, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif referred to his visit to India earlier this year to take relations forward. He alleged that India subsequently took  “unfortunate steps, including cancellation of foreign secretary-level talks” and “firing across the LoC resulting in civilian casualties” which sho-wed that “India was averse to normalisation of relations”. 
 
Mr Sharif said that while Pakistan “remains open to the resumption of bilateral dialogue, the onus is on India to create a conducive environment in this regard”.
 
According to sources, Mr Sharif’s utterances on India and the Kashmir issue are being seen by New Delhi as “posturing”. The comments are being seen by many as proof of Pakistan’s frustration at being overshadowed by India and nervousness about increasing Indo-US bonhomie.
 
Sources in New Delhi said there is no plan for any meeting between the Indian and Pakistani PMs at Kathmandu during the forthcoming Saarc summit there and that no bilateral agenda, therefore, has been drawn up. But sources also said nothing could be ruled out completely on the possibility of a sudden unscheduled meeting between the two Prime Ministers.

New Delhi, meanwhile, is gearing up for several high-level visits from the American side ahead of Mr Obama’s visit for Republic Day. A senior American diplomat of Indian origin, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs Nisha Biswal, will travel to India next week to lay the groundwork for the visit of Mr Obama, who will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. She will travel to New Delhi for "internal consultations and bilateral meetings".

Mr Obama had accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. The invitation had been a closely-guarded secret known to only very few people in the Indian government till the PM tweeted about it on Friday evening.

Meanwhile, in Islamabad, a Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office statement said, "The (Pakistan) Prime Minister also urged President Obama to take up the cause of Kashmir with the Indian leadership, as its early resolution would bring enduring peace, stability and economic cooperation to Asia." It said that Mr Obama informed Mr Sharif of his forthcoming visit to India in January.

During the call, Mr Sharif recalled an invitation he extended to Mr Obama last year in Washington and conveyed the expectation of the people of Pakistan to welcome the US President to the country some time in the future. "The President also assured the (Pakistan) Prime Minister that he would undertake a visit to Pakistan at an early date, as
soon as the situation normalises in the country," the statement said.

Later, the White House also confirmed that Mr Obama had called up Mr Sharif. "I can confirm that the President did speak with PM (Prime Minister) Sharif," Mark Stroh, spokesman of the National Security Council, said. Meanwhile, in Washington, the state department said, "Assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs Nisha Biswal will travel to New Delhi, India, for internal consultations and bilateral meetings." During her travel from November 23 to December 5, Ms Biswal will also be travel to Kathmandu to represent the US as an observer state at the Saarc summit.

Mr Obama’s India trip assumes significance given that he will be travelling to India at a time when the US President normally gives his annual State of the Union address to Congress.
 
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