Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said that a stable relationship between India and Pakistan is key to unlocking the potential of South and Central Asia by ensuring connectivity between East and West Asia.
IMAGE: General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan’s army chief, with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Speaking at an event in Islamabad, Bajwa noted that this potential has always remained hostage to the disputes and issues between the two ‘nuclear neighbours’, Dawn reported.
“The Kashmir issue is at the heart of this. It is important to understand that without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, the process […] will always remain susceptible to derailment to politically motivated bellicosity,” Bajwa said.
“We feel it is time to bury the past and move forward,” he said, adding that the onus for meaningful dialogue rests with India.
The Pakistani Army chief also stated that unsettled issues in South Asia are dragging the entire region back into poverty and underdevelopment.
“It is sad to know that even today it [South Asia] is amongst the least integrated regions of the world in terms of trade, infrastructure, water and energy cooperation.
“On top of it, despite being impoverished, we end up spending a lot of our money on defence, which naturally comes at the expense of human development,” he said.
In recent weeks, Pakistani leadership and the army seem to have tone down rhetoric against India.
On Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that India would have to take the first step for improving bilateral relations by addressing the Kashmir issue.
Last month, India and Pakistan had announced that they have agreed to a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC).
India last month said that it desires ‘normal neighbourly’ relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.
India has also told Pakistan that ‘talks and terror’ cannot go together and has asked Islamabad to take demonstrable steps against terror groups responsible for launching various attacks on India.