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Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. Photo: Reuters
Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. Photo: Reuters

If Pakistan wants better ties, it must address our concern on terror: India

India's foreign ministry said that the country has time and again asked Pakistan to take action against terrorists and terrorist groups which are operating from their soil

New Delhi: Responding to Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa’s remarks about backing lawmakers in efforts to improve relations with India, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) on Thursday said if Islamabad is serious about friendship, then it should understand India’s core concerns regarding terrorism and take action against terrorists operating from its soil.

Bajwa on Tuesday, according to media reports, urged Pakistani lawmakers to try to improve relations with India and assured them that their efforts would be fully backed by the Army. His comments are significant as the Army commands significant influence over policy decisions in Pakistan.

“We, of course, like any good neighbour, desire good relations with countries who are next to us… in fact, all neighbours. It is important for Pakistan to understand the core concerns of terrorism. We have time and again emphasized on it. We have time and again asked them to take action against terrorists and terrorist groups which are operating from their soil," said MEA’s spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

“This is something they (Pakistan) will have to handle if they are serious in cultivating this friendship," Kumar added.

The MEA spokesperson, however, dismissed Bajwa’s support to Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed. On Wednesday, Bajwa had said that Saeed can speak about the Kashmir issue like any other Pakistani citizen.

Kumar stated that Saeed’s reality was not hidden from anyone; he wasn’t just an international terrorist, he was also the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack.

India also brushed aside comments of Pakistan’s national security advisor Lt Gen (retd.) Nasser Khan Janjua who recently refused to rule out the possibility of nuclear conflict in South Asia and accused India and the US of conspiring against the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“We are quite used to these alarmist comments coming out of Pakistan. We have seen these comments in the past. I think it is very clear that it has a political motive... It should not be taken too seriously," the MEA spokesperson emphasized.

On Pakistan’s announcement on Wednesday about issuing visas to India national Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother to visit Islamabad, Kumar said the modalities of this meeting are being worked out and the two countries are engaged in discussions.

Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. Subsequently, India, in May, moved the International Court of Justice, which halted his execution pending a final verdict to be handed down by it.

The MEA spokesperson added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday held telephonic conversations with top Nepalese leaders, including K.P. Sharma Oli, who is expected to lead the next government in the Himalayan nation. The conversations are the first highest-level contact between the leaderships of the two countries after the Communist alliance of Oli and Prachanda swept the elections.

“I have just been informed that PM had a telephone conversation with K.P. Sharma Oli, chairman Communist Party of Nepal (UML); with Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, chairman CPN (MC); and also with Sher Bahadur Deuba, the present prime minister," Kumar said.

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