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Dealing with Imran Khan, the India way

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    New Delhi, July 30: Handling Imran Khan will be a challenge for India. Analysts at first had pointed out that Imran Khan becoming the prime minister of Pakistan is not exactly good news for India as he is considered to be the stooge of the Pakistan army.

    Imran Khan

    India feels that the Imran Khan who campaigned during the elections would be very different compared to Imran Khan as PM. The rhetoric was needed for him to win the elections, but in the post poll scenario, he would be different, India feels.

    Moreover in his first address after winning the elections, he had said that if India takes one step, Pakistan was willing to take two. India realised that Khan had an edge during this election and all through the campaign stayed in touch with his team.

    The indian mission was in touch with both the PTI and PML-N during the campaign. Now with the elections over, India has intensified contact with the PTI. Officials say that there is a possibility of Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi calling Imran Khan and congratulating him once he takes oath.

    Officials in India are sure that Imran Khan would not entirely be controlled by the army. We understand the domestic politics there, but we are confident that Khan will deal with an open mind when it comes to India, officials also say.

    Officials in Delhi tell OneIndia, that the Indian mission would continue to stay in touch with Khan's team like they did during the elections. India is in favour of talks and hence all attempts would be made to ensure that the dialogue process is resumed and not de-railed.

    Officials however believe that one should not rush into things. Let him take over and begin functioning, then India would be in a better position to understand his way of functioning. Imran Khan has waited long and has plenty to prove and hence there could be a ray of hope where India-Pakistan relations are concerned.

    After the elections, Khan had said that Pakistan is ready to improve ties with India.His government would like leaders of the two sides to resolve all disputes, including the "core issue" of Kashmir, through talks, the former cricketer-turned-politician said and asserted that the blame game between the two neighbours, detrimental to the subcontinent, should stop.

    "If they [India] take one step towards us, we will take two, but at least (we) need a start," 65-year-old Khan said in his first public address after leading his party to victory in the general elections.

    "I am a person who arguably knows the most people in India because of my days in cricket. We can resolve the poverty crisis in South East Asia. The biggest problem is Kashmir," Khan said.

    "We want to improve our relations with India, if their leadership also wants it. This blame game that whatever goes wrong in Pakistan's Balochistan is because of India and vice versa brings us back to square one," he said.

    "This is not how we will grow, and it is detrimental to the subcontinent," he added.
    Khan said good India-Pakistan relations will be beneficial for the entire region and suggested to increase trade ties between the two neighbours.

    India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place.
    Khan also said he was very disappointed with the Indian media which had projected him like a "Bollywood villain" in recent weeks.

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