‘BJP calls Jan 2004 agreement essence of India’s relations with Pakistan’

*Prasad says BJP wants ‘healthier relations’ with Pakistan *Modi govt to discuss border dispute with China

NEW DELHI – While Narendra Modi-led government, if it assumes power as indicated by exit polls, will ensure some amount of continuity in India’s foreign relations, it will have no constructive engagement with Pakistan if the neighbour state doesn't address what it called India's ‘concerns’ over terrorism.

Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, who has helped formulate party’s policies on crucial foreign policy issues, told Times of India newspaper that India could look forward to a more robust foreign policy under Modi with its core as promotion of national interest. “We want healthier relations with Pakistan but any constructive engagement may be difficult if India's concerns over cross-border terrorism are not addressed,” he said.

Prasad said that the January 2004 agreement between the two countries would be the essence of India's relations with Pakistan under Modi. The paper reported that the January 2004 agreement had underlined a public commitment that any territory under Pakistan’s control would not be allowed to be used for committing terrorism.

The party leader said final nuances of India’s foreign policy would be determined by Modi himself after he assumes power. He said the party was confident that NDA was going to win over 300 seats. Prasad, who headed a party committee to look into relations with neighbours, said the BJP government would insist on China suitably addressing India's concerns over the border dispute and Arunachal Pradesh.

While many believe that Modi may be inclined to take India closer to countries like Japan, China and South Korea,  which never threw a fit about his alleged sectarian past,  ignoring in the process ties with the US, Prasad said it was actually time to set right the relationship with the US. He welcomed the statement by President Barack Obama, even as the exit poll results rolled out, that he was looking forward to working with the new Indian government.


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