Dialogue is the only option between India and Pakistan to move forward: Abdul Basit

Islamabad: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India reiterating Pakistan’s position that talks and preconditions cannot go together, hoped that bilateral talks between the two countries would resume in the near future.

As he ends his stint, he talks about need for a structured initiative on the ‘front channel’. He calls for keeping the door open to all possibilities, reports Indian prominent Newspaper, the Hindu.

Abdul Basit’s tenure as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India began in March 2014, a few months before the NDA government assumed office. The last three years have seen many low points in bilateral ties – from the cancellation of the Foreign Secretary level talks in August 2014 following Basit’s invitation to Hurriyat leaders to a near-freeze in dialogue over cross border terror attacks.

However, Basit believes that the agreement between the two sides on a framework for comprehensive dialogue in December 2015 is a silver lining.

In an interview with the newspaper when asked about the cricket and rivalry between the two neighbours, he remarked that Pakistan and India should play cricket and other sports too. “If we put off all sporting ties until we solve our problems, that wouldn’t be wise. These events do help create a better environment and we need that.”

To another question he said that sports and politics should be kept separate, and Pakistan has been proposing and suggesting cricketing ties and others throughout. So our position is very clear, he added.

About the Pak-India relations during his 3 years tenure, he said, “We were very hopeful because our Prime Minister took a very bold decision to travel to India in May 2014, but after that the process got stuck.

Notwithstanding all the problems, the two countries were able to agree on a framework to restart talks in December 2015 and on the comprehensive bilateral dialogue, which was our biggest achievement in the last three years.” Now, whenever the two sides agree to talk to each other, at least we wouldn’t be spending too much time finalizing the modalities for talks, he added.

“In diplomacy, you cannot simply lock the door and throw the key away.

You have to keep the door open for possibilities. I am hopeful that Pakistan and India will talk to each other, but whether it happens now or two years down the road, I do not know.”


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