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Nawaz Sharif tells ministers not to speak against India


Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stopped his ministers from giving anti-India statements so that the peace process is not hit, an official said.

A close aide to Sharif said on Friday that the ministers and senior officials were asked not to issue any statement that could damage the peace process.

“There will be statements only that encourage the dialogue process rather than digging out the past. The PM has asked the close aides and cabinet members to promote peace,” The Nation quoted an official as saying.

He said Sharif was optimistic about better ties with India, which would benefit the whole region.

Sharif was annoyed by statements from India that New Delhi only wanted to discuss Pakistan occupied Kashmir in talks, but understands this is not Indian government’s policy, the official added.

Sharif, the official said, wanted to give top priority to Kashmir, terrorism and trade when the two sides discuss peace.

Another official said Sharif and the military leadership were on the same page to make peace with India.

“There is no difference of opinion and both agree that there should be no compromise on the stated position on key issues,” he added.

An interaction between Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Paris and subsequent meeting of the National Security Advisors in Bangkok set the pace for improvement in the bilateral ties.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also visited Pakistan on December 8 to attend the Heart of Asia conference.

She met Sharif and his advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of the conference.

It is expected that Sharif and Modi will meet again in Switzerland in January. The two leaders will be together on January 20 to attend the 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos-Klosters.

India’s outgoing High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan on Thursday said the relations between the two countries were heading towards betterment.

Analysts said it was a positive development that Pakistan and India agreed to resume comprehensive dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.(IANS)

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Iran invites Pakistan to join Chabahar project with India

India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in 2016

Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
  • Iran has invited Pakistan to join Chabahar port project
  • It is a very crucial port of great importance
  • India, Iran and Afghanistan have already signed a trilateral agreement in 2016

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has invited Pakistan to participate in the Chabahar Port project that connects India to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, a leading Pakistani daily reported on Tuesday.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The move may be seen as Zarif’s bid to allay concerns here over the Indian involvement in the Iranian port, Dawn online reported. The Iranian minister also, meanwhile, extended the invitation to China.

“We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chahbahar,” Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, said while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Monday, according to the daily.

India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in 2016 to jointly develop the Chabahar port, opening a new strategic transit route between the three nations and other Central Asian nations, bypassing Pakistan. In November 2017, India delievered the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port.

Also Read: All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

Zarif had earlier held bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif and addressed a trade conference. The visiting Foreign Minister is being accompanied by a large trade delegation from Iran.

He also said that Gwadar Port and Chabahar Port needed to be linked through sea and land routes for development of deprived Eastern and South-eastern Iran and South Western Pakistan. “We are taking measures to do that and there is an open invitation to Pakistan to participate in that,” Zarif said.

Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons

He also said that the Chabahar port project was not meant to “encircle Pakistan … strangulate anybody”, adding that Iran would not allow anybody to hurt Pakistan from its territory, much like Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against Iran.

Zarif likened Iran’s relations with India to Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia. “Our relations with India, just like Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Islamabad as we understand Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran.” IANS

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