Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he hoped his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will use the big mandate he won in the Lok Sabha elections to improve relations between the two nations, Sputnik reported on Thursday.
Khan told the Russian media outlet during an interview that Pakistan’s main difference with India is Kashmir. “And if the heads of two countries resolve, if two governments decide, this issue can be resolved,” he said. “But, unfortunately, we have not had much success from India so far.” Khan said the emphasis should be placed on resolving differences through dialogue.
The Pakistan prime minister was responding to a question on whether Islamabad was seeking international mediation to reconcile with New Delhi. “Pakistan is looking for any kind of mediation, because Pakistan believes that progress comes with peace.”
Khan said the Indian government should take the initiative for talks, while reiterating that Kashmir was the only point of contention. “Unfortunately, Kashmir can only be resolved if the people of Kashmir are given the right of self-determination, which was guaranteed to them by the United Nations in 1945.”
Khan said Pakistan had indicated to India about peace talks after the elections. “We actually tried before the elections, but unfortunately we felt that before the elections Prime Minister Modi’s party was building up this hysteria, unfortunately, anti-Pakistan feeling among its people, appealing to its right-wing Hindu nationalists, and so there was no chance of peace before the elections.”
Khan said he hoped the Indian leadership would take up Pakistan’s offer for talks and “resolve all our difference through dialogue”. “There is no way two nuclear-armed countries should think of resolving the differences through military means,” he said. “It is madness. So we hope that now we can progress, use dialogue to resolve our differences.”
Last week, Khan had written to Modi seeking talks to resolve the Kashmir dispute and congratulated Modi once again for his victory in the Lok Sabha elections. On April 10, Khan had said that he saw a better chance of peace talks with India if the BJP returned to power. India, however, has said the country will not hold talks with Pakistan until it gives up its state policy of supporting terrorism.
On boosting ties between people of the two countries through initiatives like the Kartarpur corridor, Khan said “people-to-people” contact only works when governments try to get closer. “You can’t have a situation where the governments have animosity towards each other, and expect people to get closer.”