Pak: Time for a fresh start in diplomacy

Kashmir Times. Dated: 9/12/2014 1:06:00 AM

NEW DELHI, Sep 11: Pakistan today said it "could not agree more" with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's "no full stop" in diplomacy remark and noted that the time has come for making a "new beginning" in bilateral ties.
"I cannot agree more (with Swaraj) because in diplomacy, you need to keep the doors ajar," Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, told reporters here.
Stating that India is a "very important neighbour" for Pakistan, Basit said, "Unfortunately, we have a chequered history of our relations with India; but the time has come that we walk past the narratives of the past and make a new beginning."
Inaugurating a lifestyle exhibition, 'Aalishan Pakistan', jointly organised by FICCI and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) at Pragati Maidan here, Basit said he often tells his Indian friends that when "our two countries come together, sky is the limit".
"We can benefit from each other and if we were to establish a relationship that is based on mutual respect and mutual benefits, there is no way we cannot really perform miracles," he said.
Swaraj recently indicated that there may be a window for resumption of talks with Pakistan when she said that "there is no full stop in diplomacy, it's always commas and semi-colons. And, after all this, people always move forward. There are no full stops in diplomatic journeys".
Meanwhile, talking about the Kashmir floods, which he described as a "terrible disaster", Basit said authorities on both sides were working to overcome the challenge.
"I think our two leaders (Pakistan and Indian PMs) have exchanged letters and let's hope that authorities on both sides are working to overcome the challenge," Basit said.
"We have already sent a reply to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Our Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already sent a reply. That reply itself spoke volumes of Pakistan's interest in working together to overcome this environment of climate change challenges," he added.
Basit said that the 'Aalishan Pakistan' exhibition would provide a push for the two neighbouring countries to create opportunities and find new avenues for moving forward.
"I am sure this (event) will have far-reaching effects for our two countries... Positive effects. I have no shred of doubt in my mind that our two countries need to work together ... The potential is humongous, enormous," the Pakistan High Commissioner added.
The four-day exhibition will see more than 150 Pakistani firms and around 300 exhibitors display a range of products from the neighbouring country.



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