India rejects claims of having agreed to hold talks with Pakistan

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Rejecting claims of having responded to Islamabad’s call for dialogue, India on Thursday clarified that New Delhi seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar, said, “As per the established diplomatic practice, PM and EAM have responded to the congratulatory messages received from their counterparts in Pakistan. In their messages, they have highlighted that India seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan.”

Kumar was responding to queries regarding replies to congratulatory messages by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan.

This comes after, Pakistan media, citing diplomatic sources, reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had, in reply to congratulatory messages, expressed willingness to hold talks with the neighbouring country.

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Kumar asserted that in their responses to the congratulatory messages received from Islamabad, Modi and Jaishankar had highlighted that India seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan.

The spokesperson added that PM Modi’s message stressed on the importance of building an ‘environment of trust, free of terror, violence, and hostility’, while the EAM emphasized the need for an “atmosphere free from the shadow of terror and violence”.

Relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated after the Pulwama terror attack, where India lost over 40 CRPF personnel. Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack, which saw the entire world community throwing its weight behind India in its fight against terrorism.

India has maintained its stance that Pakistan, in order to resume talks, needs to create a terror-free atmosphere.

(With ANI inputs)

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