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Pak President Mamnoon Hussain-“ India running away from talks”

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Islamabad: Pakistani president Mamnoon Hussain said on Wednesday that talks with India remain halted as the neighbour was “running away” from dialogue.

A sharp response from New Delhi followed that India had never shied away from talks and was willing to discuss all issues in an atmosphere free from terrorism and violence.

“Despite Pakistan’s efforts for resumption of talks (with India) and its offer of a joint probe in the Pathankot attack, the foreign secretary-level talks are still suspended. Pakistan is concerned about it,” Mamnoon Hussain said. Hussain said Pakistan wanted peaceful ties with all neighbours by addressing disputes through talks and accused India of “running away from talks with Pakistan”.

“We have never shied away from talks. We are prepared to discuss all issues with Pakistan in an atmosphere free of terror and violence,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told Hindustan Times.

Hussain’s statement came ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Tashkent on June 23 and 24 where Modi is expected to meet Sharif, though there is no confirmation of the meeting from either side. India and Pakistan are set to become new members of the grouping.

Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit said in April that talks between the neighbours were suspended and the Indian foreign office reacted to it by saying both sides were in touch to hold them.

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