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India desires normal relations with Pakistan: MEA

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'Committed to address issues, if any, bilaterally and peacefully'

Srinagar: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Thursday said that India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan and is committed to addressing issues, if any, bilaterally and peacefully in an atmosphere free of militancy, hostility and violence.

The information was shared by the Minister of State (MoS) External Affairs (MEA), V. Muraleedharan in a written reply filed to the Rajya Sabha in response to the queries including on track one and track two dialogue and the recent ceasefire agreement between two sides besides the dialogue in the past six years.

Muraleedharan in a written reply as per news agency KNO said that both India and Pakistan have agreed to the strict observance of all agreements on ceasefire with effect from the midnight of February 25, 2021.

Muraleedharan said that during the visit of the External Affairs Minister to Pakistan in December 2015, it was decided to have a meeting at the level of the Foreign Secretaries to work out modalities of the comprehensive bilateral dialogue.

“However, the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries could not take place due to the terrorist attack on the Pathankot air base in January 2016 and the continued support to cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations by Pakistan,” Muraleedharan said.

He said that the government’s consistent position has been that India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan and is committed to addressing issues, if any, bilaterally and peacefully in an atmosphere free of militancy, hostility, and violence.

“The onus is on Pakistan to create such a conducive atmosphere including by taking credible, verifiable, and irreversible action to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross-border terrorism against India in any manner,” he said.

Muraleedharan said that India and Pakistan maintain regular channels of communication through the respective High Commissions and other established mechanisms such as hotlines, flag meetings, scheduled talks between the Directorate Generals of Military Operations (DGMO).

“Through these well-established mechanisms, the government regularly takes up all cases of unprovoked ceasefire violations and support for cross-border terrorist infiltration by Pakistan forces,” he said.

The Minister said that Pakistan has been consistently called upon to abide by its 2003 ceasefire commitment for maintaining peace and tranquility along the International Border and the Line of Control following the scheduled talk between the Directors General of Military Operations over hotline.

“A joint statement was issued on 25th February 2021, in which both sides agreed to the strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from the midnight of 24/25 February 2021,” Muraleedharan said.

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