India responds to Pakistan’s desire to hold talks

India said it is ready to have normal relations with Pakistan in an "enviornment free of terror and hostility."

Yasmin Tinwala

India has responded to Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s offer to hold talks to improve bilateral relations, on August 3, 2023, saying that it can be considered in an “environment free of terror and hostility.” This comes after India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar had previously stated it was not possible for India and Pakistan to have normal relations until the latter shuns the policy of cross-border terrorism.

The recent comments were made by Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi during a weekly media briefing. “India’s clear and consistent position on this is well known. We desire normal neighbourly relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan. For this, an environment free of terror and hostility is imperative,” Bagchi said.

August 5 will mark four years since India revoked Jammu & Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories in 2019. On being asked to comment on Pakistan’s plans to hold protests and demonstrations to oppose the scrapping of J&K’s special status, Bagchi responded, “Jammu and Kashmir are integral parts of the country, we don’t take these things seriously.”

I​ndia-Pakistan relations have continued to remain strained since 2019 which was also the year of the Pulwama suicide bombing that resulted in the death of 40 Indian soldiers. The event had brought the two countries to the brink of war. Both countries are nuclear powers and while they have never resorted to a show of power using these weapons, experts have predicted that things could escalate beyond the use of conventional weapons.

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