New Delhi: With former cricket captain Imran Khan all set to become Prime Minister of Pakistan, India on Saturday said it hoped the new Pakistani government would work towards building a “secure South Asia free of terror and violence”.
India’s veiled message was clear — that Mr Khan or whoever takes charge in Islamabad as head of the civilian government will have to seriously address the problem of terrorism sponsored by the Pakistani establishment (the Pakistan Army and ISI) if there is to be any hope of a dialogue between the two neighbours.
In its brief statement, New Delhi effectively sought to convey that its core issue when dealing with Pakistan was the issue of terror emanating from the soil of Pakistan or territory controlled by it. Significantly, there was no direct reference by India to Mr. Khan’s offer on Thursday of a dialogue or his reference to Kashmir being the “core issue” between the two countries. Mr Khan— who is seen as the favourite of the Pakistani Army and ISI — is yet to be sworn in as Prime Minister.
His political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, has emerged with the largest number of seats in the National Assembly among all political parties but is short of a majority on its own. Soon after the election results were out, he had said that Pakistan was ready to move two steps ahead in a dialogue if only India took just a step forward.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the ministry of external affairs said, “We welcome that the people of Pakistan have reposed their faith in democracy through general elections. India desires a prosperous and progressive Pakistan at peace with its neighbours. We hope that the new government of Pakistan will work constructively to build a safe, stable, secure and developed South Asia free of terror and violence.”
India has been maintaining that there can be no talks (with Pakistan) and terror (by Pakistan) at the same time and has demanded that Islamabad act against terrorists operating from its soil as well as dismantle the terror infrastructure in the form of training camps that are flourishing across the border....