The Indian Government has always favoured normal ‘neighbourly relations’ with Pakistan but wants ties free of “terror, hostility and violence”.
“India’s position has remained clear and consistent – we desire normal neighborly relations with Pakistan in a conducive atmosphere that is free of terror, hostility and violence,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi told reporters here.
Answering questions on recent comments made by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during an interview, he said, “We have also seen subsequent clarifications by Pakistan PMO as well as comments by other Pakistan leaders in the recent past. I am not sure what you would like us to respond to. Let me reiterate that India’s position has remained clear and consistent”.
The power struggles vis-a-vis Pakistan’s foreign policy had come to the fore. Army chief Gen Asim Munir Ahmed must have yet to approve Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s call for a dialogue with India.
In an interview with UAE’s ‘Al Arabiya news channel, Sharif said: “My message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that let us sit down on the table and have serious and sincere talks to resolve our burning issues like Kashmir”.
But in no time, the Pakistan PMO issued a statement stating, “Without India’s revocation of this step (abrogation of Art 370 in Jammu and Kashmir), negotiations are impossible”. This virtually stalled whatever idea was generated by PM Sharif’s remarks in the media interview.
To a question on the possible visit of new Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda to India, the MEA spokesman said, “We would be very happy to receive the Prime Minister of Nepal at a suitable convenient date. I have also heard that he has expressed a desire to visit India and I am sure we would be happy to welcome him when he comes. And it has been a practice, that on various occasions, Nepal leaders as well as some of other neighbouring countries’ leaders, try to come to India as their first foreign visit”. He also maintained that it’s a reflection of the “strong relations” between India and Nepal.
“I will be visiting India soon,” PM Prachanda told senior editors last week during his first interaction with select journalists after winning the vote of confidence. “The concerned embassies are making preparations for my visit,” he told the journalists at Baluwatar, the official residence of the Prime Minister, media reports claimed.
The 68-year-old Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre leader Prachanda was sworn in as the Prime Minister for the third time on December 26, 2022, after he dramatically walked out of the pre-poll alliance led by the Nepali Congress and joined hands with Opposition leader KP Sharma Oli.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal’ Prachanda’ on January 10 won the vote of confidence in the House of Representatives.
Arindam Bagchi condemned the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming it a propaganda piece and an effort to push the discredited narrative. He expressed wonder over the purpose of this exercise and the agenda behind it.
“We think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity, and continuing colonial mindset are blatantly visible. If anything, this film or documentary reflects on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again,” he said, adding, “It makes us wonder about the purpose of this exercise and the agenda behind it”.
“…. and we do not wish to dignify such efforts,” he remarked.
Vandalism of temples in Australia:
The External Affairs Ministry has strongly condemned the reported vandalism of Hindu temples in Australia. Bagchi said India is aware that several temples have recently been vandalised.
“We strongly condemn such actions. These actions have also been publicly condemned by Australian leaders, Community leaders and religious institutions there. Our Consulate General in Melbourne has taken up the matter with the local police. We have requested expeditious investigation, action against the perpetrators and of course measures to prevent such incidents in future,” he said.