Press Trust of india

Kashmir issue can be resolved through dialogue: Imran Khan

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Colombo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that Kashmir is the only dispute with India and it can only be resolved through dialogue.

Addressing the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Trade and Investment Conference which he co-chaired with his counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo, Khan said that he offered India an opportunity to hold peace talks on being elected as prime minister in 2018 but nothing came to pass.

“Our only dispute is Kashmir and it can only be resolved through dialogue,” he said.

Earlier this month, India said it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

“Immediately when I came into power, I approached our neighbour India and explained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the way forward for the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue,” Khan said.

“I didn’t succeed but I am optimistic that eventually sense will prevail. The only way the subcontinent can tackle poverty is by improving trade relations,” he added.

India has said that the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

“Our position is well-known. India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. “The onus is on Pakistan for creating such an environment.”

Ties between India and Pakistan nosedived after a militant attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.

The relationship dipped further after India’s war planes pounded what they claimed was a Jaish-e-Mohammad militant training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama suicide attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

The relations deteriorated further after India in August 2019 announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories.

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