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Time to bury past & move forward : Pakistan army chief asks India, Pakistan to give peace a chance in sub-continent

Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa
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Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa

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Islamabad: Advocating for peace in the sub-continent, Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said it was time for New Delhi and...

Islamabad: Advocating for peace in the sub-continent, Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said it was time for New Delhi and Islamabad to "bury the past and move forward".

Addressing the Islamabad Security Dialogue, Bajwa said that stable Indo-Pak relations were the key to unlocking the potential of South and Central Asia by ensuring connectivity between East and West Asia.

"The Kashmir issue is obviously at the heart of disputes. It is important to understand that without the resolution of Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, [the] process of sub-continental rapprochement will always remain susceptible to derailment due to politically motivated bellicosity," Bajwa said.

"Our neighbour will have to create a conducive environment, particularly in occupied Kashmir," he added. India last month said that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility. Bajwa's comments came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan, while inaugurating the summit, had said that Pakistan was trying to bring in peace, but India would have to take the first step to normalize ties.

Khan had said that having a direct route to the Central Asian region will economically benefit India. Central Asia is rich in oil and gas.Drawing references from the Cold War, Gen Bajwa said frayed relations between various powers centres will ultimately lead to another Cold War and that it is these unsettled issues in South Asia that 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," he added.

Though, both Prime Minister Khan and General Bajwa didn't specify the minimum steps that India should take but many experts in Pakistan believe that some positive measures in Kashmir could ease pressure on the Pakistan government before entering into talks or restoring the normal diplomatic ties.

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