While inaugurating the first edition of the two-day Islamabad Security Dialogue hosted by the National Security Division in collaboration with government-funded think tanks PM Imran Khan said, “We are trying, but India would have to take the first step and unless it does that we cannot move ahead.”
However, the prime minister did not elaborate on what he expected India to do as the first step to the resumption of ties.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars, had engaged in several episodes of limited conflict, and Indian Forced and illegal annexation of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir on Aug 5, 2019.
After a ‘hotline contact’ between the director generals of military operations of the two countries, an announcement of the resumption of ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC) by the two countries was no less than a surprise. Many believe that agreement was made possible through a backchannel, although Pakistani officials strongly deny it.
Since then, no violation has been reported at LoC and importantly there has been a visible reduction in rhetoric from both sides. Prime Minister Khan’s speech at Islamabad Dialogue too was without the usual criticism of the Indian government, whom he had in the past likened to Nazis of Germany, and its actions, especially in Kashmir.
He further said that Pakistan could not fully exploit its geo-economic potential unless it improves its ties with neighbors by strengthening the trading connections and establishing peace in the region.
He believes that the Kashmir issue was the lone irritant standing in the way of better ties between Pakistan and India.
“If poverty has to be eradicated, our trading and economic ties should be strong in addition to greater connectivity.”He maintained.
India could access resource-rich Central Asia if there was peace, he said. He at the same time noted that there were still enormous challenges in the way of peace in Afghanistan.
“No one should underestimate how difficult it is. There are still many challenges.”He maintained.
Meanwhile, the US is preparing for setting up a regional compact on Afghanistan, whose meeting is likely to be held next month.