Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he would love to have a televised debate with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Imran Khan feels that the debate would go a long way in solving the differences between the two countries. Since achieving independence 75 years back, India and Pakistan have always been at loggerheads with one another. They have been engaged in three wars.
“I would love to debate with Narendra Modi on TV,” Imran Khan was quoted as saying by ‘Russia Today’ in an interview. Khan added that such a debate would be beneficial for the billion-plus people in the Indian sub-continent.
So far there has been no response from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
India in recent times has categorically told Pakistan that ‘terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand’. India has demanded that Pakistan crack down on terror groups and punish terrorists, some of who are designated so by the United Nations.
India has demanded Pakistan end cross-border terrorism. However, Pakistan has blamed ‘non-state actors’, for cross-border terrorism. It has said that it has no control over such terrorists.
Apart from the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, India has also asked Pakistan to crack down on terrorists and terror organisations responsible for the 2016 Pathankot terror attack in which seven security forces were killed, as well as the 2019 Pulwama terror attack in which over 40 Indian soldiers were killed.
In the past India has told Pakistan that dialogue can only happen in a ‘terror-free atmosphere’. New Delhi has asked Islamabad to show evidence of its crackdown on terror before talks can be held.
Khan blamed India for the souring of trade relations between the two countries. “India became a hostile country so trade with them became minimal. Our government’s police is have trade relations with all countries,” Khan said.
Khan’s remarks follow similar comments recently by Pakistan’s top commercial official, Razzak Dawood. He was quoted by various media houses stating that he supported trade ties with India since it would benefit both sides.
Khan’s interview came on the eve of a visit to Moscow, where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will be the first visit by a Pakistani leader to Russia in two decades. The two-day visit for talks on economic cooperation was planned before the current crisis over Ukraine.
Khan however, categorically stated that Pakistan has nothing to do with the Ukraine crisis. “This doesn’t concern us, we have a bilateral relation with Russia and we really want to strength it,” Khan said of the Ukraine crisis.