Kashmir has been a source of controversy between India and Pakistan for decades, as both claim ownership of the province yet only control a portion of it. But the climate seems to be shifting as Pakistan’s new PM has made an offer to India to resolve Kashmir issue.
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Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s new prime minister, has urged his Indian equivalent Narendra Modi to resolve the long-standing disagreement over Jammu and Kashmir, as well as other issues affecting the Islamabad-New Delhi relationship.
“We believe that peaceful and cooperative ties between Pakistan and India are imperative for the progress and socioeconomic uplift of our people and for the region,” Sharif said in a message published by Pakistani newspaper Dawn on Sunday.
“Meaningful engagement and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, is essential to get relations to this level.
Pakistan is “committed to the maintenance of regional peace,” Sharif said, adding that Islamabad’s role in combating terrorism is “well known and globally acknowledged.”
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Over the years, Islamabad and New Delhi have exchanged charges of backing terrorist groups operating on one other’s soil in order to hurt the adjacent state.
Pakistan and India, both nuclear powers, should work collaboratively to promote regional security and strive for the “progress and prosperity of our people,” according to the Prime Minister.
Modi congratulated Sharif on his appointment as Pakistan’s prime minister a week ago, stating that India desired “peace and stability in a region free of terror, so that we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the well-being and prosperity of our people.”
According to reports in Indian media, the two sides are working on arranging a meeting between Modi and Sharif during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in Uzbekistan in July.
On April 11, Sharif was sworn in as prime minister after his predecessor, Imran Khan, was ousted in a no-confidence vote. Khan charged his political adversaries of working with the US to depose him, prompting enormous rallies from his followers.
Kashmir has been a source of controversy between India and Pakistan for decades, as both claim ownership of the province yet only control a portion of it. In the 1940s and 1960s, the neighbors fought two battles over the disputed territory. They also nearly avoided a massive confrontation in early 2021, despite the region’s heightened tensions.