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After Modi, Imran Khan seeks bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan

Khan has asked the Indian PM to permit a meeting between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi during the UN General Assembly meet later this month.

New Delhi: In a letter to PM Modi, the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has sought the resumption of dialogue between the neighbouring nations at the UN General Assembly meet later this month in New York.

As per reports, Khan has asked the Indian PM to permit a meeting between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi during the meet.

Response to Modi’s letter

  • Khan’s letter is the first formal proposal of bilateral dialogue since he assumed power in Pakistan last month.
  • This letter can be seen as a response to PM Modi’s letter from August 20 – where he had proposed constructive and meaningful engagement with Islamabad.
  • PM Modi had stated that India was committed to peaceful neighbourly ties with Pakistan, official sources had said while quoting the letter.

Strained relations

  • The two nations have not had any substantial dialogue since 2015 when Swaraj had travelled to Islamabad for Heart of Asia conference.
  • The ties between the two countries had strained after Pakistan-based terror groups launched attacks in India in 2016.
  • India has made it clear to Pakistan on several occasions that ties and terror would not go together.
  • Pakistan has confirmed that it has “engaged” with India to facilitate a bilateral meeting between Qureshi and Sushma Swaraj. Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said that no decision has been taken on the issue so far.
  • “We are engaged in the matter,” he said when asked about reports that Qureshi and Swaraj may hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA and whether both sides have formally approached each other.
  • To ease tensions with India, Pakistan had also sought US help earlier this month, saying it wanted peace on the eastern border in order to concentrate on the western border with Afghanistan. During the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Qureshi had raised the issue.
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