PM Imran emphasizes on ‘constructive engagement’ in letter to Modi
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking resumption of dialogue with ‘constructive engagement’ between the two countries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session later this month in New York.
In his letter, Khan asked the PM Modi to green light a meeting between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN meet, so they could ‘explore the way forward, especially the holding of the SAARC Council of Ministers followed by the SAARC Summit in Islamabad.’
Here’s the full letter
Dear Modi Sahab,
I wish to thank you for your warm greetings and best wishes on my assumption of charge as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
I endorse your sentiment that the only way forward for our two countries lies in “constructive engagement”. It was in this spirit that Pakistan’s Minister of Law and Information attended the funeral of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi. Mr. Vajpayee contributed in trying to bring a positive change in our bilateral relations and was also a major proponent of a strong SAARC for building bridges and developing ties.
Pakistan and India have an undeniably challenging relationship. We, however, owe it to our people, especially the future generations to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, to bridge differences and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. Siachin and Sir Creek need close attention to move towards resolution.
Pakistan remains ready to discuss terrorism.
Discussion on trade, people to people contacts, religious tourism, humanitarian issues are also important.
Building on mutual desire for peace between our two countries. I wish to propose a meeting between foreign minister, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the External Affairs minister Ms. Sushma Swaraj, before the informal meeting of the SAARC foreign ministers at the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York. They can explore the way forward, especially the holding of the SAARC Council of Ministers followed by the SAARC Summit in Islamabad. The summit will offer an opportunity for you to visit Pakistan and for us to re-start the stalled dialogue process.
I look forward to working with you for the benefit of the people of both our countries.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Khan’s letter is the first formal proposal of bilateral dialogue since he formed the government in Pakistan last month. It came in response to PM Modi’s own letter on August 20 which conveyed that New Delhi was looking for constructive and meaningful engagement with Islamabad.
The PM had noted that India was committed to peaceful neighbourly ties with Pakistan, the report quotes sources as saying.
The two nations have not had any substantial dialogue since 2015 when Swaraj had travelled to Islamabad for Heart of Asia conference. The ties between the two countries had strained after terror attacks in India in 2016.