In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Office termed Prime Minister Modi’s August 12 comments in Leh on terrorism as “baseless rhetoric.”
“Our Armed Forces are ready to defend Pakistan borders and thwart every threat of aggression,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said in Islamabad.
The spokesperson underlined that Pakistan has consistently condemned terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations and pointed out Pakistan is the biggest victim of the menace and has lost 55,000 of its citizens due to terrorism.
“The press reports of Indian accusations, at the highest political level, are most unfortunate, especially as the leadership of Pakistan wishes to establish good neighbourly relations with India,” she said. Alluding to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to India in May, the spokesperson said that the trip “generated a fresh momentum in the bilateral relationship.” “It would be in the larger interest of the regional peace that instead of engaging in a blame game, the two countries should focus on resolving all issues through dialogue and work together to promote friendly and cooperative relations,” she cautioned.
In his first frontal attack on Pakistan, Mr Modi told personnel of the Indian Army and Indian Air Force in Leh that Pakistan “has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism.”
In his speech, Modi had said even though he had raised the issue of cross-border terrorism with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his talks in New Delhi on May 27, there was no change in Islamabad’s policy.
The prime minister had underlined that India’s armed forces were suffering more casualties from terrorism than from war.
The verbal duelling between India and Pakistan comes barely a fortnight before the foreign secretaries of the two countries meet in Islamabad to explore ways to revive the talks with Pakistan, which stalled last year after the killing of some Indian soldiers by Pakistan’s troops along the Line of Control.
Immediately after talking charge, Mr Modi had orchestrated a diplomatic masterstroke by inviting leaders of all SAARC nations, including the prime minister of Pakistan, for his swearing-in ceremony, which was followed by friendly bilateral talks in New Delhi. The South Asia diplomacy of the new government has been widely lauded by in the subcontinent as well as the world over, specially the US.
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