Modi’s statement on relations welcome: Pakistan envoy

April 24, 2014 - 6:42:04 am

New Delhi: Dismissing seemingly tough statements by the BJP and its allies about Pakistan as “poll rhetoric”, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit yesterday said they “very much welcome” BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s latest statement that if he came to power, his government would follow a “balanced” foreign policy in which “no one should be able to intimidate us and neither should we do it”.

Addressing a group of journalists from the Indian Women Press Corps at the Pakistan High Commission here, Basit, who took over earlier this month, said Modi’s statement in a TV interview Tuesday night were “very positive”.

“We have heard the statement of Modi. We are very much encouraged,” Basit said, adding that the statement from the prime ministerial hopeful has given Islamabad “hope” and that things would be more positive.

Asked if he would deal with Pakistan with a firm hand, Modi told ABP News in an interview: “No one should be able to intimidate us and neither should we do it. The relationship with all countries should be balanced.”

“This feeling should be reciprocated and that is the best way forward,” he added.

To a question if the tough posturing by some BJP members and its affiliate groups caused concern, Basit said that in election time “we understand that it is all part of poll rhetoric”.

Basit also added that whosoever comes to power after the general elections in India would get a “felicitation message” from Pakistan.

Basit, who is believed to be tipped to become the next foreign secretary, said his country hoped the new government in India “would be stable and

would not be a repetition of the past”. He said his country is “very keenly looking forward to a government with which Pakistan can quickly, comprehensively and meaningfully engage”.

Stressing on dialogue as the way forward to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries, Basit also expressed disappointment that Pakistani players were not allowed to participate in the hugely-popular Indian Premier League cricket

tournament, terming it as an example of a negativity in ties that needed to be addressed.

To a question, the Pakistan high commissioner said he had learnt from the media of the arrest of some Indian Mujahideen operatives, including Yasin Bhatkal and trained bomb-makers Tehsin Akhtar and Waqas who police said had come from Pakistan with the aim of disrupting the Indian elections. 

“There may be some truth in the reports.. I have also learnt of the arrests from the media. There is no official information given to the government of Pakistan about it,” Basit said, adding that the “negative narrative” between their countries needed to be changed to positive.