Basit calls Modi's remarks encouraging

HC favours resumption of dialogue to resolve outstanding issues

NEW DELHI – Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abul Basit has said that his government in Islamabad is keenly looking forward to a government in India with which Pakistan can engage quickly, comprehensively and meaningfully, the Press Trust of India reported on Wednesday.

Interacting with women journalists here, he said that he was encouraged after BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's remarks regarding ties with foreign countries and asserted that it was looking forward to a stable government here to engage meaningfully.

Making a strong pitch for resumption of dialogue process, the high commissioner said that the talks were the only way to resolve outstanding issues and no one nation does any favour by talking, indicating that stopping of talks by India was not good for bilateral ties.

Abdul Basit said his government was committed to change the bilateral narrative of conflict into one by cooperation and mutual trust. “I have seen all the statements and remarks (by his party and him) but the best statement came on Tuesday night and I feel much more encouraged,” he said when asked about BJP's view that all those who do not support Modi should go to Pakistan.

“His (Modi) response when a question was asked about Pakistan was very positive and that gives us hope that positive things will come... I am indeed encouraged,” he said. In an interview on Tuesday, Modi had asserted that he would take forward former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's principles on foreign policy and said, “I believe mutual respect for one another and cooperation should be the basis for relationships with foreign nations.”

Abdul Basit also downplayed BJP leader Giriraj Singh's remarks that all those who don’t respect Modi should go to Pakistan, saying these were rhetoric used during electioneering. Favouring the resumption of dialogue, he said that Pakistan hopes that there are resumption of talks to resolve outstanding issues.

“We should also preserve and build on past agreements and treaties,” he said, citing examples of Indus water treaty and some understanding on demilitarisation of Siachen. To a question, he also said that Pakistan was not most dangerous country but most misunderstood country.

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