Pakistan returns courtesies, wishes India on I-Day

RSTV Bureau

Photo: PTI (File)

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has greeted the people of India on the occasion of Independence Day. PM Sharif returned the courtesy as PM Modi had wished the neighbouring nation on their Independence Day on August 14.

“Promoting friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations between our two countries is in our mutual interests,”said Sharif.

Sharif also spoke about the need to settle bilateral issues in the wake of a spate of ceasefire violations at the border.

“We in Pakistan sincerely hope to settle all bilateral issues through a sustained and comprehensive dialogue,” said Sharif in a message to PM Modi.

In his second Independence Day speech from the Red Fort, PM Modi spoke on a host of issues concerning India – agriculture, farmers’ plight, black money, corruption. However, PM Modi did not touch upon terror strikes or the ceasefire violations from the Pakistan side of the border.

India and Pakistan are set to hold the first ever bilateral talks between the National Security Advisors of the two countries. The talks between Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz are slated to be held in New Delhi on August 23.

“Yes, I can confirm it that I will be going to India on (August) 23rd for talks,” Pakistan PM’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz had confirmed on Thursday.

In the invitation, India had proposed August 23-24 for the meeting between two National Security Advisors. According to the Pakistan government sources, the decision to attend the meeting was taken after a final nod by PM Sharif.

The NSA-level talks between the two nations had run into a slim speculation with a spike in Indo-Pak tension due to the cross-border firing and terror attacks in Punjab and Jammu.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had made a statement saying that the terrorists involved in both the attacks were Pakistanis, though Pakistan authorities denied that the attacks were perpetrated by terrorists who had infiltrated from their territory.

Earlier, in the midst of tension, Pakistan alleged that a “spy drone” was being used by India for aerial photography near the Line of Control (LoC). However, the claim was outrightly dismissed by the Indian army and the Indian Air force.

Even last week, Sartaj Aziz had gone on record saying that Pakistan establishment wants an “unconditional” and “result-oriented dialogue” with India on all issues of mutual concern, including the core issue of Kashmir.

“Pakistan wants a constructive, sustained, unconditional and result-oriented dialogue with India on all issues of mutual concern including the core issue of Kashmir,” Aziz had said speaking at the 22nd Ministerial Meeting of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Forum in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

The two neighbouring nations had charted a commitment to hold talks between their National Security Advisors during the PM-level delegation meet in Ufa, Russia. Prime Minister Modi had held a meeting with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the sidelines of SCO summit on July 10.

(With inputs from the PTI and agencies)