• Wednesday, June 07, 2023


Modi speaks on India-Pakistan relations prior to Japan departure: ‘The onus is on…’

In an interview, he also said that normalising the ties between India and China would benefit the wider region as well as the world.

India’s newly sworn-in prime minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif during a meeting in New Delhi on May 27, 2014. (Photo by RAVEENDRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

India is in favour of having “normal and neighbourly relations” with Pakistan but the onus lies with Islamabad to create an environment which is free from terrorism and to take necessary steps, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has said in an interview with Japan-based Nikkei Asia prior to his departure for Hiroshima for the G7 summit.

Speaking on relations with Pakistan, the prime minister told the news outlet, “However, it is incumbent upon them to create a conducive environment free from terrorism and hostilities. The onus is on Pakistan to take necessary steps in this regard.”

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Modi had invited former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif to his inauguration as the prime minister in May 2014 and also made a surprise visit to Sharif’s residence in Lahore in 2016. But the relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours rapidly deteriorated in the subsequent years due to a number of terror strikes on the Indian soil, which saw New Delhi asserting that terror and talks cannot happen together.

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Pakistan has also criticised India after the Modi government scrapped Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gave Jammu and Kashmir a special status and converted it into a Union Territory from a state and brought it under the direct rule of New Delhi.

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Earlier this month, Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited India to take part in a foreign ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar but the two diplomats did not have any bilateral meeting at the event held in Goa. The two leaders targeted the other’s country with Jaishankar even referring Bhutto-Zardari as “the spokesperson for the terror industry”.

Modi speaks on India-China ties

Among other things, Modi also spoke on issues related to India’s ties with China, the other hostile neighbour that India has to its north.

Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

“India is fully prepared and committed to protect its sovereignty and dignity,” Modi told Nikkei Asia amid the continuous border standoff between the two Asian neighbours. He also stressed New Delhi’s respect for sovereignty, rule of law and resolving disputes peacefully. The two nations’ bilateral ties particularly worsened in 2020 when a clash between them left soldiers dead on both sides.

“Peace and tranquility in the border areas are essential for normal bilateral ties with China,” the prime minister said in the interview, adding, “The future development of India-China relationship can only be based on mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests.”

He also noted that “normalising” the ties would benefit the wider region as well the world.

Modi reached Hiroshima on Friday and met the Indian diaspora there. India has been invited as a guest country for the summit, which includes seven of the world’s most advanced economies.

Following his visit to Japan, Modi will go to Papua New Guinea and Australia.

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