The Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal has stated that India wants to have good relations with Pakistan and vowed that a peaceful, democratic and stable Pakistan is in the interest of India.
He was speaking to the media at a local hotel in Islamabad, on the occasion of republic day reception of his country. The High Commissioner said it has been and still is the policy of India, that relations with Pakistan should be friendly, based on mutual interest and benefit.
The Indian High Commissioner said in the past there has been a great deal of effort from the Indian side to have cordial and friendly relations with Pakistan, adding that the same response had been given from Pakistan.
He said it is necessary that the peace process should be carefully nurtured and efforts should be made not to damage the process. Referring to some of the incidents at the Line of Control the Indian High Commissioner said it enhanced tension, the friendly atmosphere between the two countries was also disturbed. He said after a meeting between the Director General Military Operations from both sides, the two countries agreed to resolve the issue through bilateral mechanism.
He said firing across the border had stopped which was a good and welcoming step. The Indian High Commissioner while referring to the statements of Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that despite some pitfalls, the peace process between the two countries did not derail and there was no reversible damage to this process.
During the month of January, both sides had accused each other of cross border infiltration and killing of military troops. The incidents of military violations were followed by strong denials. The Indian Prime Minister used a stronger tone by stating that with Pakistan the relations could not be business as usual. The Pakistan side reiterated its commitment to peace and security in the region. It offered to hold an investigation of the cross border firing incidents through a neutral body like the United Nations Good Offices Mission, but India did not agree.
The White House spokesperson Victoria Nuland emphasized the need for both countries to engage positively, to desist from incursions and violation of their border, take steps to end exchanges of fire, to seek a negotiated settlement to all disputes including Kashmir and resume travel and trade across the Line of Control.
The renewal of efforts to normalize bilateral relations through negotiations is a welcome development. The leadership and people of both countries desire friendship and cooperation. The real test comes when an unfortunate development tends to derail the peace process. At times like these, the leaders of both countries should defuse tensions instead of issuing demoralizing public statements. It is prudent to seek good offices of a common friend like the United States, which has an equal interest in a secure, durable and peaceful South Asia.
Dawn News January 28, 2013
Dawn News January 8, 2013
Dawn News January 9, 2013