Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Imran offers talks, but Modi should be wary of Pakistan's doublespeak

Imran offers talks, but Modi should be wary of Pakistan's doublespeak

The sources said that the two foreign ministers will meet on lunch in NY.

"We have not finalised the agenda for the meeting", Raveesh Kumar said. Let's talk and resolve all issues.

The cricketer-turned-politician has asked PM Modi to look at arranging a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly scheduled to happen in New York, US later in September.

Earlier, in his first interview with a Saudi newspaper after assuming office, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that Pakistan will always stand by Saudi Arabia whenever it faces hard time.

Khan has sought a meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mehmood Qureshi - the foreign ministers of the two countries - on the sidelines of the UNGA in NY later this month.

He said he endorsed PM Modi's sentiments of seeking "constructive engagement".

Pakistan's finance minister, Asad Umar, on Tuesday admitted the economic crisis was deepening before he set off to accompany Mr Khan.

Later, Pakistan also issued a clarification saying that his minister never said Indian PM offered a dialogue.

"India has accepted the Pakistani prime minister's suggestion", the spokesperson added. "We await a formal response from India", he said.

They exchanged ideas for enhancing cooperation in the political, defense, economic, commercial and cultural sectors, developing joint ventures in line with their respective developmental needs, strengthening collaboration in the human-resources sector, and addressing the issues faced by Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia.

The Trump administration suspended massive aid to Pakistan, which is in the dire need of an International Monetary Fund bailout due to a balance of payment crisis because the quasi-military state has not adequately addressed America's concerns on terrorism.

Days later, he said Islamabad and New Delhi must resort to dialogue to resolve all conflicts, including Kashmir.

In his first address after taking charge of the country, Khan had said his government would work to establish good relations with all the country's neighbours and hold talks to normalise ties.

In his letter, Khan also said the two countries need to pay "close attention" to resolving the Siachin and Sir Creek issues. The rail link facilitates people-to-people to contact which Pakistan believes is essential for improving relations between both the countries.

India and Pakistan have not been engaged in any substantial dialogue since 2015 when Swaraj traveled to Islamabad for Heart of Asia conference.

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