Sharif calls for ‘new beginning’ in India-Pak ties

Amid a spurt in tensions over incidents along the LoC, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for a “new beginning” in ties with India so that all outstanding issues can be settled in a “friendly manner.”

“Let us make a new beginning. Let us sit together to resolve all outstanding issues in a friendly manner and in a peaceful atmosphere,” Sharif said in a message telecast on a TV news channel.

Sharif, who has repeatedly spoken of his desire to improve relations with India since he became premier in June, said the two countries should become “good friends.”

“We must become good friends. Hold each other’s hands. We must sit together with a open and clean heart,” Sharif said.

Addressing the people of India, Sharif said: “We have a lot of love and affection for you and we must become good friends.”

Speaking ahead of the Independence Days of both countries, Sharif said before 1947, the people of India and Pakistan used to live together.

Now that 65 years of independence have passed, both countries need to improve their ties for their betterment and prosperity, Sharif said.

Clashes along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir since last month have increased tensions between the two countries. India accused the Pakistan Army of killing five of its soldiers in an attack along the LoC.

The charge was rejected by Pakistan, which Monday summoned Indian deputy high commissioner Gopal Baglay to protest “continuous ceasefire violations” along the LoC. It claimed a civilian was killed in firing by Indian forces at Rawalakot.

Sharif last week expressed his sadness over the incidents along the LoC that had resulted in the flaring up of tensions and the loss of “precious human lives.”

Sharif also said it was imperative for India and Pakistan to take effective steps to restore the ceasefire on the LoC.

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