India-Pakistan Ties

I’m ‘very sad’ India has not understood the need for talks, unlike Pakistan: Mani Shankar Aiyar

At the Karachi Literature Festival, the suspended Congress leader said the countries need ‘uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue’.

Suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Sunday said dialogue was the only way for India and Pakistan to resolve their bilateral problems. He said he is “proud” that Islamabad has accepted this, but “half very sad” that New Delhi has not, Geo TV reported on Monday.

“There is only one way of resolving India-Pakistan issues [which is] by an uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue,” Aiyar said at the Karachi Literature Festival, The Express Tribune reported.

On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had also said the two countries have fought enough wars and must now hold talks to resolve their problems.

Aiyar compared himself to mythological Greek king Sisyphus, saying all he could do was to continue to push for a dialogue, the same way the king kept rolling a boulder up a hill. “I love Pakistan because I love India,” he added, urging India to “love thy neighbour as thyself”.

The former diplomat said Pakistan has improved drastically in its approach to normalise bilateral relations, and India has only marginally changed. He identified the Kashmir dispute and terrorism as the two main problems between the two countries and said, “You have concerns that we must address, and we have concerns that you must address.”

Aiyar also suggested that India and Pakistan should adopt a framework that former President Pervez Musharraf had formulated, as it could help them reach a solution within minutes.

In December 2017, India’s Congress party had suspended Aiyar as a primary member after he made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections.

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