Pakistan's 'friendship' offer to India should not be seen as weakness: Imran Khan

Khan has warned that Pakistan will not tolerate any act of hostility.

Pakistan's 'friendship' offer to India should not be seen as weakness: Imran Khan

LAHORE: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that his country's offer of "friendship" to India should not be considered as its weakness and the Indian leadership should shun "arrogance" to hold peace talks.

"I hope the Indian leadership will shun arrogance and hold (peace) talks with Pakistan. Our offer of friendship should not be considered as our weakness. Friendship between Pakistan and India will help overcome poverty," Khan said while addressing the Punjab bureaucracy on Sunday.

Khan warned Pakistan "should not be threatened as it will not tolerate any act of hostility." 

"Friendship (between Pakistan and India) is in the benefit of both the countries. We will not take the pressure of any world power," Khan said during his speech.

Remarks from Khan came days after it emerged that he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking resumption of bilateral talks on key issues including on terrorism and Kashmir.

India initially appeared to have agreed for a meeting between Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this month but later cancelled it on Friday. 

New Delhi called off the meeting, citing the "brutal" killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the release of the postal stamps "glorifying" Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani.

In a stern warning to Pakistan, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat Sunday said that surgical strike is a weapon of surprise and must remain so while hinting that the security forces will respond when the appropriate times comes.

''Surgical strike is a weapon of surprise. Let it remain a surprise,'' Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said.

On Sunday, Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat too backed the Narendra Modi government's decision to call off dialogue with Pakistan, asserting that talks and terror cannot go together.

"The government's policy is very clear cut... You (Pakistan) show us some initiatives so that we feel that you are not encouraging terrorism. But we see that terror activities are continuing and terrorists come from the other side of the border. 

"In such an atmosphere, whether talks can be initiated that the government can only decide. I agree to the government's decision that peace talks and terrorism cannot go together," he said.

The Army Chief was reacting to the government's decision to call off the Foreign Minister-level talks with Pakistan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Reacting to India's cancellation of the meeting, Khan had on Saturday said that India's decision to cancel the foreign minister-level talks in New York was "arrogant" and asserted that he was "disappointed" by the New Delhi's "negative" response. 

"Disappointed at the arrogant and negative response by India to my call for the resumption of the peace dialogue. However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture," the Pakistan PM had tweeted.

However, Pakistan's two major opposition parties - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) - questioned the "haste" shown by Prime Minister Khan in making efforts to mend ties with India and held him responsible for the "diplomatic debacle", saying he should have done his "homework" before approaching for a meeting.

Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived following a spate of terror attacks on Indian military bases by Pakistan based terror groups since January 2016. 

Following the strikes, India announced it will not engage in talks with Pakistan, saying terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand. 

(With PTI Inputs)