NEW DELHI: While Pakistan continues to reiterate that it desires good relations with India and other neighbours, New Delhi harps on the same string calling on Islamabad to ‘walk away’ from terrorism.
“…Terrorism emanating from Pakistan is affecting not merely India but other neighbours of Pakistan as well has been the core concern, continues to be the core concern and we would like it to be effectively addressed by Pakistan,” Gopal Baglay, the spokesperson for India’s External Affairs Ministry, was quoted as saying by ANI news agency on Friday.
Baglay’s statement came a day after Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit expressed Islamabad’s desire to have good relations with New Delhi. “We hope we will be able to solve our differences and issues, especially the Kashmir issue,” Basit said on Thursday while speaking at a Pakistan Day event organised at Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in the Indian capital.
Relations between the two hyphenated neighbours have been at the lowest ebb since a deadly militant attack on an Indian military base in Uri, in the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir, in September last year. However, in an apparent thaw in frosty relations the Indus water commissioners of the two countries met in Lahore last week to discuss the thorny water issue.
Bagley sought to downplay the interaction, saying the Indus Waters Treaty mandated the commissioners of India and Pakistan to meet once a year.
“As long as we are party to the Indus Waters Treaty, it is incumbent upon us to fulfill our obligation. It is mandated to meet at least once a year. Therefore, India’s Indus commissioner attended the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission last week in Pakistan,” he added.
Bagley also said that during the meeting, India’s Indus water commissioner had detailed technical discussions. “We are in the process of assessing these deliberations on various technical matters that the commission is mandated to make,” he added.
India has denied Pakistani media claims that New Delhi has accepted Islamabad’s reservations on the disputed Miyar dam during the talks of the Indus Water Commission. The reports, sources said, were ‘factually incorrect and wrong’ and India has ‘never agreed to halt the project’.
Pakistani media reported that the Indian delegation, led by the country’s Indus Water Commissioner PK Saxena, had agreed to halt work on the hydroelectric project’s design and that it would soon share a new design of the Miyar project.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent felicitations to Pakistan on the republic day on Thursday, triggering speculations that fractured relations might be on the mend.
However, the Foreign Office spokesperson in Islamabad played down the development, calling it part of ‘normal courtesies’ between the leadership of various countries.
Observers also doubt these contacts could lead to the resumption of structured dialogue that remains suspended for the past several years.