After Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Army chief calls for better relations with India

Resolution of Kashmir dispute a must to tap potential of Asian connectivity, he says.

Resolution of the Kashmir dispute in a ‘peaceful’ manner is necessary to tap the potential of Asian connectivity, said the Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday. Delivering a speech at the first ever Islamabad Security Dialogue, the Pakistani army chief said it was time for both India and Pakistan to bury past differences.

“Stable Indo-Pak. relation is a key to unlock the untapped potential of South and Central Asia by ensuring connectivity between East and West Asia. This potential, however, has forever remained hostage to disputes and issues between two nuclear neighbours. Kashmir dispute is obviously at the head of this problem. However, we feel it is time to bury the past and move forward,” said Mr. Bajwa.

The comment adds to the momentum generated by recent indications that there has been some back channel communication among certain top officials on both sides. Thursday’s comments are of particular importance as they come a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan called for greater trade with India saying India can use regional peace to access Central Asia.

Continuing Mr. Khan’s argument, Mr Bajwa said, “It is important to understand that without the resolution of Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, process of sub-continental rapprochement will always remain susceptible to derailment due to politically motivated bellicosity.”

Mr. Bajwa said Pakistan is located in an important region to “connect civilisations” and it wants to use this ability to benefit regional and global interests. “We intend to leverage our vital geostrategic location for our own, regional and global benefit. Our robust role in current quest for peace in Afghanistan is a proof of our goodwill and understanding of our global and moral obligations,” said Gen. Bajwa.

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