Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that he would once again extend a hand of friendship to India after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as he believed New Delhi rebuffed his offer of talks because Pakistan is an issue in the elections in the neighbouring country.
Speaking at the high-profile Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh, Khan said Pakistan wants “peace with all our neighbours particularly India and Afghanistan for regional peace and stability.”
“Peace with India would help the two countries to divert their resources towards human development instead of indulging in arms race,” Khan was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Pakistan.
Similarly, peace in Afghanistan would help Pakistan to have an easy access to the Central Asian states for bilateral economic and trade activities, he said.
Khan said he had extended a hand of friendship to India, which rebuffed the move.
After assuming power in August, Khan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September.
India accepted the proposal but, within hours of its acceptance, terrorists killed three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir, prompting New Delhi to cancel the foreign ministers’ meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA.
“He (Khan) attributed this (cancellation) to anti-Pakistan rhetoric raking in votes in India,” the Express Tribune newspaper reported, citing the prime minister.
Prime Minister Khan said he would try once again following the conclusion of the general elections in India.
The general elections are due to be held in India next year.