Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that he would like to have a debate with Prime Minister Narendra Modi which would be televised, in a bid to resolve differences between the two nations.
India and Pakistan have a strained relationship since gaining independence 75 years ago. They have also fought in three wars since then.
Imran Khan in an interview with Russia Today said, “I would love to debate with Narendra Modi on TV”. It would be beneficial for the people of the Indian subcontinent if differences could be resolved through debate, he added.
On the other hand, the Ministry of External Affairs of India is yet to respond to news agency Reuters’ request for comment.
Meanwhile, India made it clear to Pakistan that it would not indulge in any bilateral dialogues unless Pakistan culled its support to terror outfits. India also demanded that Pakistan cracked down on terror groups and punished terrorists.
India demanded that Pakistan end cross-border terrorism, which Pakistan blames on “non-state actors”, who operate from Pakistan and areas in Kashmir illegally under Pakistan’s occupation.
India asked Pakistan to punish terror organizations that were responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, 2016 Pathankot terror attack in which 7 security personnel were killed, and the 2019 Pulwama terror attack in which over 40 Indian soldiers were killed.
In retaliation to both the Pathankot and Pulwama terror attacks, India carried out surgical strike on terror camps in Pakistan and an airstrike in Balakot.
Pakistan PM Khan claimed that India became a hostile country and hence trade declined, adding that his government’s policy was to have trade relations with all countries.
Imran Khan’s remarks echo similar sentiments of Pakistan’s top commercial official, Razzak Dawood, who told journalists some time back that he supported trade ties with India, which would benefit both sides.
With Iran under sanctions from the United States and Afghanistan fighting decades long war, Pakistan’s regional trading options were already limited, according to Khan.
The Pakistan PM’s interview came before his Moscow visit, where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will be the first time in two decades that a Pakistani leader will visit Russia.
The two-day visit for talks on economic cooperation was planned before the current crisis over Ukraine.
Speaking on the Russia – Ukraine conflict, Khan said, “This doesn't concern us, we have a bilateral relation with Russia and we really want to strength it.”