The Government of India on Thursday categorically denied that it has reached out for dialogue with Pakistan, dismissing a suggestion by a senior Pakistani official that the Modi government had sent “messages” for a conversation to the Imran Khan government in the past year.
“The statements made by [Mr. Yusuf] are contrary to facts on the ground, misleading and fictitious. As regards the purported message, let me make it clear that no such message was sent from our side,” said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at a weekly press briefing.
The claim by Mr. Khan’s Special Assistant on National Security and Strategic Policy Planning, Moeed Yusuf, in an interview to web-based portal The Wire earlier this week had led to some speculation and some skepticism about whether the governments would explore reopening the bilateral dialogue process that has been shut down for the past five years.
In his interview to The Wire’s anchor Karan Thapar, Mr. Yusuf said Pakistan would begin any dialogue if it was sure that there was an “intent” for results, not for “show or effect”, and claimed that India wanted a dialogue in order to reassure international concerns over India-Pakistan tensions.
“In the past year we’ve got messages about a desire for conversation but you know why there is a desire for conversation – in my reading? So that there can be a dialogue which India can take to the world and say, ‘Oh, everything settled, Pakistan-India have agreed,’” said Mr. Yusuf. However, he declined to give any details or content of the “messages” allegedly received from India, and added that Pakistan would not agree to dialogue without specific actions on Jammu and Kashmir.
‘Interference in India’s internal affairs’
The MEA dismissed the statements as interference in India’s internal affairs.
“As always, this is Pakistan’s effort to divert attention from domestic failures of the present government and mislead its domestic constituents by pulling India into headlines on a daily basis. The official is well advised to restrict his advice to his establishment and not to comment on India’s domestic policy,” Mr. Srivastava said in his response to Mr. Yusuf’s interview.