India: No environment for ‘fruitful, constructive dialogue’ with India:

Pakistan’s foreign ministry says the door to diplomacy is open on outstanding issues with India, but there is no environment for “a fruitful and constructive dialogue”, according to a media report on Friday. Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar made the remarks in response to a question on relations with India at a weekly briefing on Thursday.

“In diplomacy, you never close the door,” Dawn quoted Iftikhar as saying.

India has repeatedly told Pakistan that it wants normal neighborly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terrorism, hostility and violence. India says Pakistan has a responsibility to create an environment free of terrorism and hostility.

Iftikhar said there was a national consensus on the issue and subsequent governments followed the same policy for the peaceful settlement of disputes with India.

An FO spokesman said that despite Pak-Tan’s desire for a diplomatic solution to the dispute, “there is no environment for a fruitful, constructive dialogue”.

The questions were asked in the context of the new government of Pakistan led by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the appointment of a commerce minister in New Delhi.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi exchanged messages after Imran Khan was replaced by a former prime minister.

Shortly after he was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Sharif in his inaugural address raised the issue of repeal of Article 370 in Kashmir.

He expressed his desire for better relations with India but added to the Kashmir issue.

“We want good relations with India but lasting peace is not possible until the Kashmir dispute is resolved,” he said.

Relations between India and Pakistan soured in 2016 after a terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Force Base by neighboring country-based terrorist groups. Subsequent attacks, including one at an Indian army camp in Uri, further strained relations.

Relations deteriorated after India announced in August 2019 the withdrawal of special powers from Jammu and Kashmir and the division of the state into two Union Territories.

India’s move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 has angered Pakistan, which has undermined diplomatic relations and expelled the Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad.

It has cut off all air and ground communications with India and suspended trade and rail services. PTI NSA AKJ NSA

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