Modi’s remarks encouraging: Pakistan envoy

Updated 24 Apr 2014

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Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit.  — File photo
Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit. — File photo

NEW DELHI: Pakistan said on Wednesday it was “encouraged” by comments from India’s election frontrunner Narendra Modi who stressed cooperation with foreign governments if he was elected prime minister.

Critics fear that if elected Mr Modi will adopt a tough foreign policy that could see relations deteriorate with Pakistan and China.

But Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit said he welcomed Mr Modi’s comments in a television interview that he would pursue the policies followed by former BJP premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“I was very much encouraged. They were very positive. It gives us hope that if he is elected as prime minister we should expect more positive things,” Mr Basit told journalists in New Delhi.

Mr Vajpayee sought several times during his tenure to make permanent peace with Pakistan.

New Delhi broke off peace talks with Islamabad after the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed by Pakistani gunmen.

Making a strong pitch for a resumption of the talks, Mr Basit said dialogue was the only way to resolve outstanding issues such as Kashmir.

Mr Basit said the Pakistani government wished to change the “narrative between the two countries into one of cooperation and trust.

The envoy also said that his government was “keenly looking forward to a government with which Pakistan (can engage) quickly, comprehensively and meaningfully... and move from conflicting relations”.

He added that “terrorism is a common enemy of both countries” and that those who believed Pakistan harboured terrorists “misunderstood the country”.