ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Office said on Thursday that Pakistan wants good neighbourly relations with India on the basis of equality.
“Pakistan wants peace in the neighbourhood for development of the entire region, the Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.
The spokesperson said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his address to the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit also stressed the need for focusing more on the public welfare than the arms.
Tasneem Aslam said that Pakistan played a constructive role in negotiations leading up to the SAARC summit and actively participated in the SAARC standing committee and council of ministers. The host country also appreciated Pakistan’s constructive role, she added.
The foreign office spokesperson said that the premier also held meetings with six SAARC leaders on the sidelines of the summit.
The 18th SAARC summit is currently being held in Kathmandu under the theme “Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity”.
The leaders of the eight-member alliance comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are attending the two-day summit.
In his address at the summit in Kathmandu on Wednesday, Nawaz Sharif called for a dispute-free South Asia in order to wage a joint fight against poverty, illiteracy, disease and unemployment.
On the sidelines of the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu on Wednesday, the Pakistani premier held separate meetings with Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed.
During the meetings, Sharif discussed bilateral ties and regional issues with them.
In a statement, the prime minister said that Pakistan gives special importance to its relations with the members of SAARC.
Modi, Nawaz meet briefly at SAARC Summit: Reports
The Indian media reports said that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart shook hands and met briefly on Thursday during the retreat at the SAARC Summit.
The sources said that there was no separate conversation between the two leaders.
Modi and Nawaz shook hands and exchanged pleasantries at an informal retreat for SAARC leaders at a resort outside Kathmandu, on the sidelines of a summit that appears to have been derailed by Pakistan’s refusal to endorse agreements backed by India, according to NDTV.