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Imran Khan Writes to PM Modi, Seeks resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan

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New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking resumption of dialogue between the two neighbours at the UN General Assembly meet later this month in New York, News18 reported.

In his letter, Khan asked the PM Modi to green light a meeting between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN meet, Times of India reported.

Khan’s letter is the first formal proposal of bilateral dialogue since he formed the government in Pakistan last month. It came in response to PM Modi’s own letter on August 20 which conveyed that New Delhi was looking for constructive and meaningful engagement with Islamabad.

The PM had noted that India was committed to peaceful neighbourly ties with Pakistan, official sources had said, quoting from the letter.

The two nations have not had any substantial dialogue since 2015 when Swaraj had travelled to Islamabad for Heart of Asia conference. The ties between the two countries had strained after Pakistan-based terror groups launched attacks in India in 2016.

India has made it clear to Pakistan on several occasions that ties and terror would not go together.

Pakistan has confirmed that it has “engaged” with India to facilitate a bilateral meeting between Qureshi and Sushma Swaraj. Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said that no decision has been taken on the issue so far.

“We are engaged in the matter,” he said when asked about reports that Qureshi and Swaraj may hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA and whether both sides have formally approached each other.

To ease tensions with India, Pakistan had also sought US help earlier this month, saying it wanted peace on the eastern border in order to concentrate on the western border with Afghanistan. During the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Qureshi had raised the issue.