New Delhi: Breaking his silence on cancellation of talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India was “disappointed” as Pakistan wanted to make a “spectacle” by meeting separatist leaders but said efforts will continue to build peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties with Pakistan.
He laid the ground rules for future talks, asserting that “any meaningful bilateral dialogue necessarily requires an environment that is free from terrorism and violence”.
In an interaction with the Japanese media, he said “India desires peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties with Pakistan.... India has no hesitation to discuss any outstanding issue with Pakistan within the bilateral framework that has been established under the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration”.
He was responding when asked about the cancellation of Foreign Secretary-level talks which were scheduled for August 25 in Islamabad after Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit had met Kashmiri separatist leaders here prior to that.
“We were disappointed that Pakistan sought to make a spectacle of these efforts and went ahead with talks with secessionist elements from Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi just prior to the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries,” Modi said.
At the same time, he added, “We will continue to make efforts to build peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties with Pakistan.”
He recalled that he had a “very good meeting” with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in May, 2014, when he attended the swearing-in ceremony of his government here.
“We together decided that the Foreign Secretaries should meet and explore how to take relations forward,” he noted.
Modi was asked to elaborate on BJP's election manifesto which said its government will “revise and update” the nuclear doctrine and “make it relevant to challenges of current times”.
In his reply, the Prime Minister said “I can tell you that currently, we are not taking any initiative for a review of our nuclear doctrine.”
He noted that India's nuclear doctrine was adopted during the previous NDA government and has in general governed India's nuclear weapons posture since then.
“While every government naturally takes into account the latest assessment of strategic scenarios and makes adjustments as necessary, there is a tradition of national consensus and continuity on such issues,” he added.
Asked about the possibility of India signing Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or CTBT sometime in the future, Modi said “there is no contradiction in our mind between being a nuclear-weapon state and contributing actively to global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.”
He underlined that India remains strongly committed to universal, non-discriminatory, global nuclear disarmament and its track record of non-proliferation is impeccable.
“We will continue to contribute to the strengthening of the global non-proliferation efforts. India's membership of the four international export control regimes will be conducive to this,” he said.
With regard to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Modi said “we are committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.”
The Japanese journalists asked Modi about his views on “China's expansionism” and what would be the main topic at his Summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in September.
Replying to this, the Prime Minister said China, as the largest neighbour, has “a high priority” in India's foreign policy and his government's resolve is to utilize the full potential of Strategic and Cooperative Partnership with China.
“I am keen to work closely with the Chinese leadership to push the relationship forward and to deal with all issues in our bilateral relations by proceeding from the strategic perspective of our developmental goals and long-term benefits to our peoples,” he said.
Modi said he had a good first meeting with the Chinese President in July and he was looking forward to welcoming him in India.
“India, Japan and China, as major countries in Asia, have many common interests and we need to build on them to convert ours into an Asian Century by working together,” he said.
On Indo-US relations, Modi said both sides recognize that “there is value in building further substance in this partnership for the benefit of our people, the region and the world”.
“We should challenge ourselves to realise the true potential of this relationship,” he said, adding it was in this spirit that he was approaching his meeting with President Barack Obama in September in Washington.
He described India's strategic partnership with the US as an important pillar of India's foreign policy.
“This partnership is not only relevant for the attainment of India's national, regional and global aspirations, it is also an important contributor to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world,” he said.