Islamabad: Not invited for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration on Thursday, Pakistan has sought a dialogue with the new Indian government, saying it is the only way for South Asia’s development.
The Indian government on Monday invited leaders of Bimstec member states as well as Kyrgyzstan, Mauritius and Chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for Modi’s swearing-in.
Pakistan, which is not a member of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) regional bloc, was not invited.
Downplaying the lack of invite, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Geo News on Monday evening: “Finding a new way (to resume dialogue) is also essential for them (India). If he (Modi) wants development of this region… the only way is to sit with Pakistan to find a solution.
“It is in the interest of Pakistan to defuse tensions… Pakistan did not create tensions,” he said.
The Bimstec consists of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.
Talking about Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan not being invited for Modi’s inauguration, Qureshi said: “India’s internal politics did not permit him (Modi) to extend an invitation.”
According to the Minister, a meeting for the sake of dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir issue as well as Siachen and Sir Creek disputes would have been a significant measure instead of attending the swearing-in ceremony, Dawn newspaper reported.
“His (Modi’s) entire focus (during the election campaign) was on Pakistan-bashing. It was unwise to expect that he can get rid of this narrative (soon).”
Qureshi said Modi had congratulated Imran Khan after the latter won the general election in 2018.
The relations between the two countries were based on reciprocity and Khan also congratulated Modi on his Lok Sabha election win as a “goodwill gesture”, the Minister added.
Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad were triggered after the Pulwama terror attack in February which killed 40 CRPF personnel and was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).