New Delhi: India on Wednesday criticised Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for raising the issue of Kashmir during the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, conveying that Jammu and Kashmir is an “integral and inalienable part of India”.
“It is deeply regrettable that the Prime Minister of Pakistan chose to politicise the pious occassion meant to realise the long pending demand of the Sikh community to develop a Kartarpur corridor by making unwarranted reference to Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral and inalienable part of India,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
India further reminded Pakistan of taking “effective and credible action” against terror groups who are using its soil to launch dastardly attacks on the Indian territory.
“Pakistan is reminded that it must fulfil its international obligations and take effective and credible action to stop providing shelter and all kind of support to cross border terrorism from territories under its control,” the statement said.
Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony, Khan said, “We wish to move forward, we want a civilised relationship. We have just one problem, Kashmir. If man can walk on the moon, what problems are there that we cannot resolve?”.
“I assure you that we can solve this problem. But determination and big dreams are necessary. Imagine, once trade begins, once our relationship is fixed, how much both nations could benefit,” he said and reiterated that if India takes one step forward, Pakistan will take two steps forward in friendship.
Khan said that there have been “mistakes on both sides” and asserted that the two sides should not live in the past.
India’s retort came hours after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj rebuffed Pakistan a day after Islamabad said it would invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the SAARC summit.
In a stern message to the neighbouring country, Swaraj said that there will be no dialogue with Pakistan unless it desists from terrorist activities against India.
“That invitation has already been given. But, we are not responding to it positively. Because, as I said, that unless and until Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, there will be no dialogue and we will not participate in SAARC,” Swaraj told a press conference.
Noting that Pakistan promoting terror activities in India came in the way of resumption of talks, the minister said, “I already visited Pakistan and this was me only who started the comprehensive bilateral dialogue. But what happened after that? Pathankot, after that Uri. So, we have to take a big picture.”
Maintaining she was happy that Pakistan had responded positively to the Kartarpur corridor for the first time, Swaraj said that did not mean “the bilateral dialogue will start only on this”. “Terror and talks cannot go together,” she asserted.
Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Mohammad Faisal had said on Tuesday that prime minister Modi will be invited to that country for the SAARC summit.
India had pulled out of the 19th SAARC summit that was to be held in Islamabad after the deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in September that year.
The summit had to be called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to attend. Maldives and Sri Lanka are the other two members of the regional grouping.
No summit meeting of SAARC has happened ever since.