‘Letter and sari diplomacy fine, but peace and tranquility on border must’

New Delhi, Jun 13: Letter diplomacy, and even exchanging shawls and saris as gifts across the border is all good, but for peaceful and cordial relations between India and Pakistan, and thereby resumption of talks, “peace and tranquility” on the border is the highest precondition, says India.

On a day when Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire on the Line of Control, firing at Indian positions across the border, Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said “peace and tranquillity on the border is of the highest necessity” in establishing peaceful and cordial relations between the two and “would always remain the case”.

Her remarks came even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif‘s note saying he is looking forward to working closely with him and his government “in an atmosphere free from confrontation and violence in order to chart a new course in our bilateral relations”.

In the letter Prime Minister Modi thanked Sharif for his participation in the swearing-in ceremony of his government on May 26 and also “for the sari that you sent for my mother, a gesture that she has deeply appreciated”.

Sharif in his letter had said that he was “much satisfied” with his “meaningful” talks with Modi and spoken about poverty alleviation in both countries being their “common economic destiny”. Asked about the “letter diplomacy”, the foreign secretary said it was “one tool” for both sides to normalise their uneasy ties.

She said that India’s policy towards neighbours has been “to work towards peaceful and cordial relations” and the exchange of gifts of saris, shawls and letters were tools used in that process. She stressed that “peace and tranquility” on the Line of Control is of the highest essence.