Modi refrains from ruling out Pak visit

Modi refrains from ruling out Pak visit

AFP file photo.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday refrained from ruling out the possibility of his visiting Pakistan and representing India at the 19th SAARC summit if and when his counterpart in the neighbouring country Imran Khan hosts it in Islamabad.

"We will cross the bridge when we reach there,” Modi said in an interview to Asian News International. He was asked how he would respond if Pakistan Prime Minister invited him to attend the summit of the SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation). He, however, reiterated New Delhi's stand that Pakistan must stop supporting cross-border terrorism and rein in its soldiers from flouting ceasefire along the border if it wanted to restart the stalled bilateral dialogue with India.

"It will be a huge mistake to believe that Pakistan will mend its ways after a war. It will take a lot of time for Pakistan to mend its ways),” Prime Minister said when the ANI interviewer drew his attention to continued ceasefire violation by Pakistan Army personnel and the border guards along its Line of Control with India as well as along the undisputed stretch of the border. He was asked if the September 29, 2016 indeed succeeded to act as a deterrent against Pakistan's continued support to cross-border terror against India or ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country.

He said that India had never been opposed to dialogue with Pakistan, no matter whether the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) or the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in power in New Delhi.

"It has been our consistent policy that we are in favour of dialogue (between India and Pakistan). It is not a question of whether Modi Government or Manmohan Singh Government is in power. It has been our consistent policy that we are ready to talk (with Pakistan) on all issues, not this issue or that issue. Because, India’s argument is strong.” the ANI quoted Prime Minister saying. “We only say one thing that amid the noise of bombs and guns, the dialogue cannot be heard. Cross-border terrorism must end. And we are persistently maintaining pressure on this”.

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