New Foreign Minister Addresses First Press Conference
Pakistan’s new foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has urged India to begin peace talks and shun adventurism for coming together saying issues “will not be solved overnight” and “Kashmir is a reality” an issue both sides acknowledge.
According to Dawn, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while addressing his first press conference after being sworn in at the Foreign Office (FO) in Islamabad on Monday, said, “I will try to bridge the trust deficit between Pakistan and other regional countries.”
He began with addressing people of Afghanistan and their leader Ashraf Ghani and indicated his intention to visit Kabul. He said, “I want to bring a solid message to the people of Afghanistan. The two countries share a future and geography, and we have to work together and begin our long journey.”
While referring to India, Qureshi said, “My second message is for the government of India. I want to tell the India foreign minister that we are not just neighbor: we are atomic powers. We have a lot of common resources.”
While referring to recent letter received by Prime Minister Imran Khan from India’s PM Narendra Modi, in which he indicated the beginning of talks, Qureshi asserted, “India and Pakistan have to move forward keeping realities before them.”
He further said, “Us coming to the table and talking peace is our only option. We need to stop the adventurism and come together. We know the issues are tough and will not be solved overnight, but we have to engage. We cannot turn our cheek. Yes we have outstanding issues. Kashmir is a reality; it is an issue that both our nations acknowledge.”
He said, “We need a continued and uninterrupted dialogue. This is our only way forward. We may have a different approach and line of thinking, but I want to see a change in how we behave.”
Qureshi asserted, “Pakistan’s interest is at our very centre of foreign policy. Wherever we need to fix our foreign policy we will fix it. Some forces have been trying to run Pakistan into isolation and marginalisation. And why wouldn’t they do it? Your country didn’t have a foreign minister ─ who is meant to be your chief diplomat. This gives your opponents open playing fields.”
His remarks were understood to be critical of earlier government for not having a full-fledged foreign minister for a long time. Nawaz Sharif, kept the portfolio with himself having Srataj Aziz as an advisor on foreign affairs.
Comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan were suspended after Mumbai terror attack in 2008. Terror attack on Pathankot Air Force base, terrorists’ assault on security personnel in Uri in 2006 and pronouncement of death sentence by Pakistan’s military court to Kulbhushan Jadhav on spying charges hindered in resumption of talks between the two countries.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi served as Pakistan’s foreign minister from 31 March 2008 to 9 February 2011 during Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari regime. He assumed office of Vice Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in December 2011. Earlier, he held different ministerial portfolios in Punjab province during 1988 to1993.
Canadian PM Trudeau wants to work constructively with India, says Canada shared credible allegations with New Delhi weeks ago
India has repeatedly denied claims of receiving any intel regarding the allegations from Canada before Justin Trudeau’s announcement on Monday revealing them.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday asserted that Canada shared credible allegations that the Indian government may have been involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar weeks ago, according to reports.
The Canadian Prime MInister added that his country wants to work constructively with India and hope that New Delhi engages with them so that they can get to the bottom of this very serious matter. Meanwhile, India has repeatedly denied claims of receiving any intel regarding the allegations from Canada before Justin Trudeau’s announcement on Monday revealing them.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that there was a potential link between an Indian government agent and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force, who was gunned down in Surrey in June. Justin Trudeau made the allegations in the Canadian Parliament.
India has debunked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement deeming the allegations of the Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada as both absurd and motivated. Issuing a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that they have seen and rejected the statement made by the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament. It added that they also rejected the statement made by their Foreign Minister.
After the allegations by PM Trudeau, the Canadian government expelled a top Indian diplomat. In a tit for tat move, New Delhi also expelled a Canadian diplomat. The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also claimed that the Indian High Commission and consulates are facing security threats in Canada and therefore cannot process visa applications temporarily.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was among India’s most-wanted terrorists, carrying a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head. He was fatally gunned down by two unidentified assailants outside a gurdwara in Surrey, a province of British Columbia in Canada, on June 18, according to reports.
India-Canada row: No special exemption to India, says US NSA Jake Sullivan
Jake Sullivan asserted that this is something that they will keep working on, noting that there was no special exemption to India in the case.
The United States on Thursday affirmed that it is in constant communication with India and Canada amid increasing diplomatic tensions between both the countries. The diplomatic standoff broke out after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asserted that his country’s security agencies were investigating a link between the Indian government and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Speaking on the matter, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that the US will be in contact with India at the highest level. He added that it is a matter of concern for them and they are taking it seriously. He asserted that this is something that they will keep working on, noting that there was no special exemption to India in the case.
He underlined that there is not some special exemption for actions like this. He added that regardless of the country, they will stand up and defend their basic principles. In addition, he affirmed that the US will also consult closely with allies like Canada as they pursue their law enforcement and diplomatic process.
Jake Sullivan further dismissed reports that the US’s desire to strengthen ties with India would constrain its ability to voice concerns about the allegations. He asserted that the Joe Biden administration took Canada’s allegations seriously and it was in constant contact with Ottawa.
He also noted that the US have deep concerns about the allegations and that they would like to see this investigation carried forward and the perpetrators held to account. Meanwhile, New Delhi outrightly rejected Canada’s allegation as absurd and motivated. In a tit for tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the case, New Delhi expelled a senior Canadian diplomat.
On Thursday, India asked Canada to take action against terrorists and anti-India elements operating from its soil. Furthermore, India also suspended visa services for Canadians, as the diplomatic standoff over Nijjar’s killing pushed their ties to an all-time low.
Canadian High Commission asks Centre to ensure safety, security of its diplomats, staff in India
The High Commission affirmed that all consulates in India are open and operational and will continue to serve clients.
Amidst rising tensions between India and Canada, the Canadian High Commission on Thursday asserted that some of its diplomats have received threats on social media. It urged India to provide security for Canadian diplomats and consular officers in the country. The High Commission further revealed that it has decided to temporarily adjust its staff presence in the country.
The High Commission also affirmed that all consulates in India are open and operational and will continue to serve clients. It added that in the view of the current environment where tensions have heightened, they are taking action to ascertain the safety of their diplomats. It further underlined that Global Affairs Canada is continuously supervising the safety and security of their missions and personnel as they maintain a strict security protocol to respond to any events.
On the other hand, the Vancouver Police Department has tightened security outside India’s Consulate amid planned threats from proscribed group Sikhs for Justice after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that Indian government agents were responsible for the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Const. Tania Visintin, the department’s media relations officer, noted that Vancouver police are not aware of any specific threats to Indian consular officials, but have increased police presence at the downtown Vancouver consulate.
In a shocking claim on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed the country’s security agencies were investigating a link between the Indian government and the killing of Nijjar. Following this, both India and Canada have been engaged in a diplomatic standoff. Earlier on Thursday, India suspended visa services for Canadian nationals until further notice owing to operation reasons.
In a meeting that was held on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly conveyed strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada, promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises, and threatening the Indian community in Canada and their places of worship.