Pak, India need to start ‘new chapter’ in ties: Sharif

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Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday said it is imperative that the leadership in Pakistan and India should rise to the expectations of their people and the two nations need to start a “new chapter” in ties by working towards resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue.

Sharif made the remarks when Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar called on him during his Islamabad visit as part of the ‘SAARC yatra’ he is undertaking on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sharif said it is important to establish good neighbourly and cooperative relations between India and Pakistan which is consistent with his vision of a peaceful neighbourhood in South Asia.

Jaishankar flew-in here this morning as part of his “SAARC yatra” and held extensive talks with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhary besides calling on Prime Minister Sharif and his Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office here, Sharif expressed confidence that today’s talks between the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries will result in charting the way forward in bilateral relations.

“Both the countries need to start a new chapter in their relationship by working towards resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue,” he said.

Sharif stressed that it is imperative that the leadership in the two countries should rise to the expectations of the two peoples.

“We must think together, act together and move forward with the spirit of bringing the two nations closer to each other. The two countries should lend a hand of cooperation to each other to improve the standard of living of 1.5 billion people,” Sharif said.

Noting that the South Asian region has suffered enormously due to tensions and unresolved disputes despite being blessed with enormous resources, Sharif said the people deserve to live in peace and reap the benefits of economic development.

He said it would be important that the bilateral discussions, whenever held, would seek to address each other’s concerns in areas where the two countries differ and work together in areas where both the countries agree.

Jaishankar’s parleys today appeared to have provided the two sides to move ahead on the road towards resumption of their dialogue which was interrupted seven months ago when India called-off foreign secretary-level talks at the eleventh hour because the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi held consultations with Kashmiri separatists. .

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