Answering questions on the Kashmir issue and the recent statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Balochistan, Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Gautam Bambawale said there are problems in both India and Pakistan.
He said people living in glass houses should not be throwing stones at others. Calling Kashmir an internal matter of India, he said, "There are problems in both India and Pakistan and you [Pakistan] should focus on resolving your problems before looking into the problems of other countries."
About the statement made by Modi, the envoy said, "The Prime Minister, in his August 15 independence day speech, only referred to the letters he had received." Bambawale was speaking at an interactive session organised by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations yesterday.
He said the Indian government had been saying: "Let's work together to get to the bottom of terrorism which is a headache not only for Pakistan, but for India and the world." Bombawale said the two countries should not be talking on just one issue, but on all issues. When asked whether Modi will visit Pakistan to attend the SAARC regional summit in November, Bambawale said, "Prime Minister Modi is looking forward to visiting Islamabad for the SAARC summit".
He said that even while tensions were high between the two nations, there had been contacts at the operational level, The Dawn reported. Over the past one-and-a-half month, there had been "cordial" interactions between Pakistani and Indian border forces.
Several meetings of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had also been held. Bambawale also called for greater trade ties between Pakistan and India and said political issues will take time to resolve.
He said that Pakistan should also grant India the Most-Favoured Nation status. "There should be more participation in trade fairs and more Pakistani trade delegations should visit India," he added.
"There is no option but to do it step by step," he said. The Indian envoy said the road to normalisation of ties between the two countries lies through greater trade and business. The roadmap in this regard was prepared by the two governments in 2012 could be unveiled soon. The total trade between the two countries was worth just USD 2.5 billion a year, whereas its potential was of USD 20 billion, he said.
"There is a great potential that needs to be tapped." According to reports in the leading Pakistani newspapers, he said that political issues take time to resolve but the two countries can take up smaller matters and move forward.