02:28 GMT10 May 2021
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    The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has responded to Imran Khan’s customary letter in which the latter urges India to come to the table for talks. The two leaders exchanged pleasantries but held no informal talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Kyrgyzstan.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his desire to have smooth relations with all countries in the region including Pakistan, diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

    The development comes on the backdrop of Pakistan halting its efforts to renew dialogue with India, following a series of terror strikes on an Indian military installation in 2016.

    "India wants peace and development in the region. India has always given priority to the development of people and peace. Pakistan has also lauded this gesture," a letter sent to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan reads.

    "India is ready to hold talks with Pakistan and other countries in the region for the sake of regional peace and prosperity," Modi’s letter added.

    Modi reiterated that for India, the priority has always been the progress of its people and the public good. “For initiation of meaningful dialogue, the issue of terrorism has to be addressed,” the Indian prime minister stated in his letter.

    Sources said Pakistan Prime Minister Khan is expected to formally respond to Modi’s letters “very soon”.

    Pakistan had offered to hold talks on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, but the Indian side expressed reservations and asked Pakistan to take satisfactory action against the groups spreading terror in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

    The decades-long row between the two nuclear-armed South Asian countries scaled to a near war-like situation in February this year when the Indian Air Force conducted a "non-military pre-emptive" strike near Balakot in Pakistan. It was claimed to have destroyed terror infrastructure operated by Jaish-e-Mohammed. This was followed by the Pakistani air force entering Indian airspace on 27 February and engaging in an aerial dogfight with the Indian Air Force.


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