Interested in improving ties with Pak: Jaitley

RSTV Bureau

jaitley_newIndo-Pak ties were a talking point on the second day of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s 10-day US visit. The senior leader in the incumbent establishment has sounded out the neighbour nation that India is “interested” in normalising the ties between the two countries but it is Pakistan which has to create a conducive environment for improving the ties.

He also said that the normalising of the bilateral relationship between Indian and Pakistan depends on the kind of “provocation” that comes from the latter and its current establishment.

“The message that we are interested in normalising our relationship with them or at least improving our relationship with them and the onus is on Pakistan for this purpose has been loud and clear,” the Union Finance Minister said in New York.

Arun Jaitley was speaking at the New York-based think-tank Council on Foreign Relations. Addressing the gathering of strategic experts and academicians, he reiterated, “With Pakistan, the border frequently becomes tensed, where there are exchanges on that border. I think the message in the context of Pakistan is that India is interested in improving the relationship with Pakistan and therefore the onus of the responsibility for creating an environment in which the relationship can grow would also depend much more on Pakistan and the kind of provocation that comes from there”.

India and Pakistan have off-late been involved in the war of words with the leaders from both the countries exchanging sharp comments in the wake of India’s army operation in Myanmar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had criticised Pakistan during his Dhaka visit earlier this month. However, earlier this week, Prime Minister Modi had called up his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif greeting him on the holy month of Ramzan.

The administration in US is no stranger to the tension between Indian and Pakistan. Earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressing concerns over the recent increase in tension between the India and Pakistan.

“These are two very, very important countries playing a critical role with respect to regional interests, and it’s very, very important that there be no misinterpretation or miscalculation with respect to any of the back-and-forth and the empowerment some entities might feel as a result of that,” Kerry had told reporters in a conference call from his home town of Boston.

While, the Union minister also spoke on the economic capabilities of India and reforms unleashed by Modi-led central government with just an year in power.

“We had a dual task of expanding businesses, encouraging economic activity to increase and at the same time being concerned because you have to blend it with prudent politics,” he said at New York.

(With inputs from the PTI)