Modi for ‘constructive engagement’, Pakistan says no dialogue on table

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New Delhi/Islamabad, Aug 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written to his new Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan that India desires “constructive engagement” with Islamabad but Pakistan quickly clarified that there was no offer of a bilateral dialogue.

Modi wrote to Imran Khan expressing India’s commitment to build good neighbourly relations and pursue meaningful and constructive engagement with Islamabad.

He also talked about a shared vision to bring peace to make the subcontinent free of terror and violence.

Informed sources said in New Delhi that Modi wrote to Khan on Saturday, congratulating him after he took oath as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Modi expressed India’s commitment to build good neighbourly relations between New Delhi and Islamabad and pursue meaningful and constructive engagement for the benefit of the people of the region.

He expressed the belief that the smooth transition of government in Pakistan would strengthen people’s belief in democracy.

Modi recalled their telephonic conversation in which they spoke of a shared vision to bring peace, security and prosperity in the subcontinent to make it free of terror and violence.

In Islamabad, the Foreign Ministry denied that Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had stated that Modi made an offer of a dialogue.

“In response to a query regarding the controversy being unnecessarily created by sections of the Indian media, the Foreign Minister had not stated that the Indian Prime Minister had made an offer of a dialogue,” the Ministry said in a statement.

“The Indian Prime Minister in his letter to Khan had mentioned something similar to what the Foreign Minister elucidated earlier that the way forward was only through constructive engagement.”

Earlier on Monday, Qureshi said that there was a need for “continued and uninterrupted” dialogue with India, which was the only way forward for the two neighbours to resolve outstanding issues.

Qureshi, the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Vice Chairman, was sworn-in earlier in the day along with 15 other members from Imran Khan’s 21-strong cabinet, Dawn news reported.

“Pakistan looks forward to a mutually beneficial, uninterrupted dialogue with India to resolve all issues,” the Ministry said.

“Any attempts to instigate controversy and vitiate the environment are counter-productive and against the spirit of responsible journalism.”