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Resolve your problems before looking into issues of other countries: Indian envoy to Pakistan

News Agencies | Updated on: 7 February 2017, 1:21 IST

People living in glass houses should not be throwing stones at others, the Indian envoy in Pakistan has said, while maintaining that Kashmir is India's internal matter.

Answering questions on the Kashmir issue and the recent statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Balochistan, Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Gautam Bambawale said there are problems in both India and Pakistan.

Calling Kashmir an internal matter of India, he said, "There are problems in both India and Pakistan and you [Pakistan] should focus on resolving your problems before looking into the problems of other countries."

About the statement made by PM Modi, the envoy said, "The Prime Minister, in his 15 August Independence Day speech, only referred to the letters he had received."

Bambawale was speaking at an interactive session organised by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations on 5 September.

He said the Indian government had been saying: "Let's work together to get to the bottom of terrorism which is a headache not only for Pakistan, but for India and the world."

Bambawale said the two countries should not be talking on just one issue, but on all issues.

When asked whether PM Modi will visit Pakistan to attend the SAARC regional summit in November, Bambawale said, "Prime Minister Modi is looking forward to visiting Islamabad for the SAARC summit."

He said that even while tensions were high between the two nations, there had been contacts at the operational level, The Dawn reported.

Over the past one-and-a-half months, there had been "cordial" interactions between Pakistani and Indian border forces. Several meetings of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had also been held.

Bambawale also called for greater trade ties between Pakistan and India and said political issues will take time to resolve.

He said Pakistan should also grant India the Most-Favoured Nation status.

"There should be more participation in trade fairs and more Pakistani trade delegations should visit India," he added.

"There is no option but to do it step by step," he said.

The Indian envoy said the road to normalisation of ties between the two countries lies through greater trade and business.

The roadmap for the same was prepared by the two governments in 2012 and could be unveiled soon. The total trade between the two countries was worth just $2.5 billion a year, whereas its potential was of $20 billion, he said.

"There is a great potential that needs to be tapped."

According to reports in leading Pakistani newspapers, he said political issues take time to resolve but the two countries can take up smaller matters and move forward.


First published: 6 September 2016, 2:44 IST