ISLAMABAD, Dec 5: Pakistan believes in engagement and dialogue with India, and not war, for resolution of outstanding disputes, including Kashmir, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

“We believe that the Kashmir issue should be resolved peacefully through talks based on UN Security Council resolutions. We have always urged the Indian government to engage with us in meaningful and substantive talks to resolve this longstanding dispute,” Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said at the weekly media briefing.

Mr Chaudhry, who has been designated as the next foreign secretary to replace Jalil Abbas Jilani, made the comments a day after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reacted sharply to remarks attributed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but denied by his office, that “Kashmir is a flashpoint and can trigger a fourth war”.

The spokesman, while emphasising that war was never thought about, recalled efforts of the government for improving ties with India.

“Improved good-neighbourly relations between the two countries are an imperative for economic development of the region,” he said. “All issues between the two countries should be resolved through bilateral talks.”

Mr Chaudhry reiterated the country’s commitment to “a meaningful dialogue” being the most appropriate route towards conflict resolution, improving ties and getting rid of misunderstandings.

“We believe that Pakistan and India need to address the mistrust that exists between the two countries.”

In reply to a question about erection of a wall along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary by India, the spokesman referred to a bilateral agreement against construction of any major structure close to the LoC and demanded that the accord be respected.

“There is an understanding that there should be no major construction within 500 metres on either side of the LoC. We believe this understanding must be respected.”

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