‘Will extend hand of friendship again to India after 2019 polls’

"Peace with India would help the two countries to divert their resources towards human development instead of indulging in arms race," Khan was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Pakistan.

PTI
Riyadh/Islamabad, Publish Date: Oct 24 2018 1:52AM | Updated Date: Oct 24 2018 1:52AM
‘Will extend hand of friendship again to India after 2019 polls’File Photo

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said he would once again extend a hand of friendship to India after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as he believed New Delhi rebuffed his offer of talks because Pakistan is an issue in the elections in the neighbouring country.

Speaking at the high-profile Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh, Khan said Pakistan wants "peace with all our neighbours particularly India and Afghanistan for regional peace and stability."

"Peace with India would help the two countries to divert their resources towards human development instead of indulging in arms race," Khan was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Pakistan.

Similarly, peace in Afghanistan would help Pakistan to have an easy access to the Central Asian states for bilateral economic and trade activities, he said.

Khan said he had extended a hand of friendship to India, which rebuffed the move.

After assuming power in August, Khan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting a meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September.

India accepted the proposal but, after three policemen were killed in Kashmir, New Delhi cancelled the foreign ministers' meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA.

"He (Khan) attributed this (cancellation) to anti-Pakistan rhetoric raking in votes in India," the Express Tribune newspaper reported, citing the prime minister.

Prime Minister Khan said he would try once again following the conclusion of the general elections in India due to be held next year.

In his victory speech after the July elections, Khan expressed his willingness to improve Pakistan's ties with India and said that his government would like the leaders of the two sides to resolve all disputes, including the “core issue” of Kashmir, through talks. 

 

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