Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that India wants normal and neighbourly relations with Pakistan.
In an interview to Nikkei Asia, Modi said that it was incumbent upon Islamabad to create a conducive environment that is free of terrorism and hostilities.
“The onus is on Pakistan to take necessary steps in this regard,” the prime minister told the newspaper.
Modi made the remarks ahead of his visit to Japan for the G7 summit and the third in-person meeting of Quad leaders. He will also travel to Papua New Guinea and Australia.
The G7 comprises Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and Italy, as well as the European Union. On the other hand, the Quad consists of India, the United States, Japan and Australia.
Relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated since terrorist attacks at the Pathankot air base in January 2016 and on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Pulwama in February 2019.
India’s moves to remove the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union Territories also strained ties between the neighbours.
On Friday, Modi, in his interview with Nikkei Asia, also touched upon India’s border stand-off with China and said that New Delhi is fully committed towards protecting its sovereignty and dignity.
“Peace and tranquility in the border areas are essential for normal bilateral ties with China,” Modi said. “The future development of the India-China relationship can only be based on mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests.”
Ties between New Delhi and Beijing have remained strained since the militaries of the two countries clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash, while China had put the number of casualties on its side at four. The two countries have been locked in a border row since then.
Tensions between the two countries escalated once again on December 9, after Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. New Delhi said that the clash took place after Chinese soldiers attempted to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control.
In March, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that relations between New Delhi and Beijing cannot return to normal until the border dispute is resolved in line with a September 2020 “in-principle agreement” that he had reached with former Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.