India hopes re-engaging Pakistan will mark beginning of peace

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Amid conflicting interpretations about the motives for resuming dialogue with Islamabad, the Indian government has clarified and expressed hope that re-engaging with Pakistan under a ‘comprehensive bilateral dialogue’ will mark the beginning of peace and development in the region.

 In a suo motu statement in Rajya Sabha (Upper House of parliament) on her December 8-9 visit to Islamabad, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj underlined that the decision to resume talks was underpinned by the premise that  continued estrangement was a hurdle to peace and prosperity in the region, the government expressed hope.

 “The underlying sentiment, on which I am confident that this House concurs fully, was that the continued estrangement of two neighbours was a hurdle to the realization of our shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous region,” Ms Swaraj said. At the same time, there was also a “sharp awareness” that principal obstacles to the growth of ties, especially terrorism, would have to be clearly and directly addressed.

Ms Swaraj read out her statement amid continuing chaos and din unleashed by a combative opposition. Ms Swaraj said following her visit to Islamabad, a ‘comprehensive bilateral dialogue’ with Pakistan will begin with the objective of “removing hurdles in the path of a constructive engagement by addressing issues of concern.” Also, it aims at “exploring and establishing cooperative ties,” she added.

The minister added that initiatives on trade and connectivity, people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian issues would contribute to welfare of the entire region and promote better understanding and mutual trust. “The new dialogue, we sincerely hope, marks a new beginning also for peace and development in the whole region,” Ms Swaraj said.

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