New Delhi, April 8 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India was open to dialogue with Pakistan on all outstanding issues but in an environment free of violence, adding that “peace can only thrive when the climate is right”. In an interview to Hindustan Times, his second to the media since taking over in May last year, with the first being to CNN’s Farid Zakaria, Modi said the “Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration have to be the basis for going forward” in reference to holding dialogue with Pakistan to normalize relations.
“Peace can only thrive when the climate is right. We remain open to bilateral dialogue with Pakistan on all outstanding issues in an environment free from terrorism and violence,” Modi said, according to excerpts of the interview published by Hindustan Times on its website. The interview comes on a day Modi extended his thanks to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after the country evacuated 11 Indians from Yemen and flew them back to India.
Modi also said he prefers to pack more than one destination in his overseas trips because he wants to get more done. “I’m from Ahmedabad where we have a saying, ‘single-fare, double journey’,” he told Hindustan Times a day before embarking on a tour of France, Germany and Canada.
“I usually try to visit two to four nations,” Modi said. The prime minister said the three countries were major economies and had great relevance to the development and growth process of India.
“I expect my visit to be helpful in advancing our Make in India initiative. The free trade agreement discussions are ongoing and would be reflected in my meetings. They can each contribute in terms of capital flows, technology and best practices. No prime minister has visited these countries for a long time,” he said.
“France and Germany have the manufacturing and skill base which is useful to us. France is our dependable strategic partner. In Germany, I am attending the prestigious Hannover Fair where India will be a partner country,” Modi said.
“Canada is rich in hydrocarbons and other natural resources… India’s requirements and Canada’s surplus are a perfect match.” On his government’s neighbourhood outreach policy, against the backdrop of growing Chinese influence in the region, Modi said: “We want peace and prosperity in South Asia, we want SAARC to flourish.
“This vision of regional cooperation and connectivity impelled me to invite the prime minister of Pakistan and other SAARC leaders to our swearing-in-ceremony. This remains a guiding factor in our foreign policy. The dividends are visible in the quantum leap in relations with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. But peace cannot co-exist with terrorism, can it?”
To a question on the judiciary, he said: “I would not like to analyse the judiciary, the experts should look at it. There have been instances where the judiciary’s initiative has resulted in a good outcome and there have been instances when it has resulted in pain.” On the government’s achievements: “Good governance with good intentions is the hallmark of our government. Implementation with integrity is our core passion.”