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India is committed to building ties with Pakistan: Indian President

24 March, 2017

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NEW DELHI: India is committed to building ties with Pakistan in an environment free from terror and violence, President Pranab Mukherjee tweeted on Thursday.

"On behalf of the government, the people of India and on my own behalf, I extend greetings to you and to the friendly people of Pakistan on the occasion of your National Day," he said.

The greetings were extended as the nation celebrates the 77th Pakistan Day with national zeal and fervour. The day marks the historic Lahore Resolution of 1940, in which the All-India Muslim League had demanded a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent.

"India is committed to building ties with Pakistan in an environment free from terror and violence," he added.

Mukherjee's missive comes amid unease in Indo-Pak ties following a series of terrorist attacks and tensions along the Line of Control due to frequent ceasefire violations by India.

The last official dialogue between the two countries was held in December 2015 when Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj travelled to Islamabad and the two sides decided to resume comprehensive talks. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Later visited Islamabad in 2016 to attend the SAARC Interior Ministers Conference but there was no bilateral engagement between the two countries.

Also on Thursday, Pakistan expressed hope that its ties with India will improve in the near future and the 'primary' issue of Kashmir will be resolved amicably.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark Pakistan Day at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, Pakistan's top envoy in India Abdul Basit said his country has always tried to maintain cordial relations with all of its neighbours, including India. "We hope that our relations will improve," he said, expressing optimism that roadblocks in Indo-Pak ties will be eliminated.

"We will resolve all of our issues peacefully, especially the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, which is the primary issue for Pakistan-India [ties]... we will resolve it according to the will of the Kashmiri people."

The high commissioner said Pakistan is certain that the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people will eventually succeed. "History is witness [to the fact] that freedom movements can be suppressed temporarily but they cannot be quashed permanently," he said. He said March 23 required its citizens to affirm their pledge to not hesitate in giving any sacrifice for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

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