The government on Monday expressed hope that re-engaging with Pakistan under a 'comprehensive bilateral dialogue' will mark beginning of peace and development as continued estrangement was a hurdle to peace and prosperity in the region.
Making a suo motu statement in Rajya Sabha on her last week's visit of Islamabad and recent developments relating to ties between the two neighbours, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the environment conference in Paris "again re-engaging with each other".
"The underlying sentiment, on which I am confident that this House concurs fully, was that the continued estrangement of two neighbours was a hurdle to the realization of our shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous region," she said.
At the same time, there was also a "sharp awareness" that principal obstacles to the growth of ties, especially terrorism, would have to be clearly and directly addressed.
She read out her statement as members of several opposition parties were in the well, vociferously raising slogans on several issues. Swaraj said following her visit to Islamabad, a 'comprehensive bilateral dialogue' with Pakistan will begin with the objective of "removing hurdles in the path of a constructive engagement by addressing issues of concern."
Also, it aims at "exploring and establishing cooperative ties," she said, adding initiatives on trade and connectivity, people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian issues would contribute to welfare of the entire region and promote better understanding and mutual trust.
"The new dialogue, we sincerely hope, marks a new beginning also for peace and development in the whole region," Swaraj said.