India focusing on strengthening ties with neighbours: Minister

Pakistan has many factions which make talks with it difficult, Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore said Friday and asserted that India's focus was on strengthening relations with neighbours for development of all but it depends on Islamabad how it reciprocates.

Jaipur: Pakistan has many factions which make talks with it difficult, Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore said Friday and asserted that India's focus was on strengthening relations with neighbours for development of all but it depends on Islamabad how it reciprocates.

The Minister was replying to queries on Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit's statement that his country will not "abandon" the Kashmiris' "legitimate struggle for freedom" and for normal and cooperative relationship with India it was necessary to settle the decades-old dispute.

"Our motto 'Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas' is not only for Indians, but for our neighbouring countries also and for that we are strengthening our friendship with neighbouring countries so that we can all go along but it depends on Pakistan how it reciprocate," Rathore told reporters here at the party office.

"It is unfortunate that Pakistan has many factions and because of them, talks with Pakistan become difficult," the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting said.

Asked whether Basit's remarks would have any impact on proposed Indo-Pak NSA-level talks, he said, "Leave the issue of talks with them (NSAs) only".

Basit, in his address during an event in Delhi to mark Pakistan's Independence Day, said, "Aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir could neither be ignored nor put on the back burner.

"No matter how much more time their legitimate struggle takes, Pakistan will never abandon Kashmiris and their cause."

National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan will hold talks on terrorism-related issues for the first time on August 23 in New Delhi, as decided in a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif last month in Ufa in Russia.

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