Pakistan says disputes with India should be resolved through talks, welcomes U.S. mediation

Published : April 10, 2021 13:34 IST

Indian Army vehicles in Shopian, Jammu and Kashmir, on April 9. Photo: Dar Yasin/AP

 

After weeks of overtures to India, Pakistan has once again stressed the need to build an enabling environment before any meaningful exchanges could take place between the two countries. Pakistan, on April 9, avoided commenting on whether or not the country was engaged with back-channel talks with India, with Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson, asserting that durable peace in the region hinged on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

In New Delhi, Arindam Bagchi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, too, did not give a direct reply when asked about media reports that back-channel talks between India and Pakistan were going on for more than a year. “If you talk about channels of communication on this issue, let me just recall that our respective High Commissions exist and are functioning. So that is a very effective channel of communication,” Bagchi said on April 8.

On April 9, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri was asked by several journalists at the weekly press briefing about the reported back-channel talks with India. He replied: “States have their ways and means to communicate, which remain available even during wars. Therefore, whether any talks are taking place between India and Pakistan is not important.” He added that what was imperative for the two countries was to explore how the dialogue could be made meaningful and result-oriented.

Chaudhri claimed that Pakistan had always upheld the need for meaningful dialogue and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He said peace, security and development in the region hinged on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

After a series of overtures to New Delhi, which began in February with India and Pakistan announcing a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors, Pakistan seems to be avoiding the initiation of the dialogue process by emphasising the need to create an “enabling environment” first. Both India and Pakistan have put the onus of creating that environment on each other.

When asked about the role the United States’ mediation, Chaudhri said: “As for the role of third parties, including the U.S., is concerned, we believe that the international community has an important role to play in averting risks to peace and stability in the region and facilitating a just and lasting solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the U.N. Security Council Resolutions.”

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