[caption id="attachment_2475" align="aligncenter" width="620"]
Pakistan's "sincere" desire for good neighbourly ties with India have not been "reciprocated", Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said terming the continuing deadlock in bilateral talks arising out of a "frivolous" issue.
Sharif told the Saudi Gazette in an interview during a recent visit that he took an "exceptional decision" to accept an invitation to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi's oath- taking ceremony but India did not respond to his peace overtures.
"I took an exceptional decision to attend the inaugural ceremony of Prime Minister Modi. I sincerely wanted to take the process of friendship with India forward from where it was interrupted during my last tenure," Sharif was quoted as saying in Pakistani media on Wednesday.
"However, our desire for good neighbourly relations with India has not been reciprocated. India unilaterally called-off our bilateral dialogue process on a frivolous pretext," he said in a reference to India's cancellation of foreign secretary-level talks last year as the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi held consultations with Kashmiri separatists.
The two countries later appeared to be inching towards resumption of dialogue after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's visit to Islamabad last month, described by both sides as "ice-breaking".
During their meeting on the sidelines of Modi's oath- taking ceremony in May, the two premiers had agreed to direct their foreign secretaries to talk with each other for starting negotiations to settle various outstanding disputes.
"However, there is no sign of India desiring resumption of dialogue with us. We are ready to engage with India in a constructive dialogue for negotiated settlement of all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir," he told the Saudi Gazette during his recent visit to the Kingdom.
In response to a question how the main cause of escalating tensions between the two countries, the Kashmir issue, be solved, Sharif said: "Jammu and Kashmir is the core issue between Pakistan and India.
"Our policy is based on principles that this issue should be solved on the basis of relevant UN resolutions and aspirations of people of Kashmir. This is essential for the normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan."