ISLAMABAD — Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that Pakistan is ready to restart talks with India if Delhi provides a roadmap towards restoring the previous status of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
In 2019, India withdrew Indian-ruled Kashmir’s autonomy in order to tighten its grip over the territory, sparking outrage in Pakistan, the downgrading of diplomatic ties and a suspension of bilateral trade.
“If there is a roadmap, then, yes, we will talk,” Khan told Reuters at his official residence in Islamabad.
Previously, Khan and his government have held that India would have to first reverse its 2019 steps for any normalisation process to begin.
“Even if they give us a roadmap, that these are the steps that we will take to basically undo what they did, which is illegal, against international law and United Nations resolutions… then that is acceptable,” Khan said.
India’s external affairs ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Khan said he has always wanted a “civilised” and “open” relationship with India.
“It is common sense that if you want to reduce poverty in the subcontinent, the best way is to trade with each other,” he said, referring to the example of the European Union.
Pakistan in March deferred a decision by its top economic decision-making body to restart trade with India until the Delhi reviewed its moves in Kashmir.
He said India had crossed a “red line” by revoking the autonomy of its part of Kashmir. “They have to come back for us to resume dialogue,” Khan said, adding, “at the moment there is no response from India”.
Earlier this year, Indian officials said the two governments had opened a back channel of diplomacy aimed at a modest roadmap to normalising ties over the next several months. — (REUTERS)