Not shying away from talks with Pak: Modi to Trump

Not shying away from talks with Pak: Modi to Trump

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump during a meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA74 at United Nations on Sep 24, 2019. (Photo: IANS/MEA)
New York, Sep 25 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi told US President Donald Trump that India is not shying away from talks with Pakistan, but for that it expects Islamabad to take some concrete steps, which has not happened.
Modi also told Trump that though India has the second largest number of Muslims in the world, there has been "significantly lower level" of Indian Muslims participating in global terror activities or getting radicalized.
Earlier, Trump backed India on Pakistan-sponsored terror, and said that Modi would "take care" of the issue, while answering questions by reporters before they sat down for the bilateral.
"PM made clear that we are not shying away from talks with Pakistan, but for that to happen we expect some concrete steps to happen and we do not find any effort by Pakistan in taking those steps," said Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, briefing reporters later.
Modi and Trump had a "long discussion on terrorism".
Modi explained in some detail the challenges India has faced on account of terrorism, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. in the last 30 years.
"The PM underscored that 42,000 lives have been lost to terror attacks in the last 30 years, and that it is incumbent on the international community to join together to fight the scourge. The PM also mentioned that globally from a number of developed countries, a significant number of foreign fighters, have participated in terror activities globally.
"He pointed out that though India has the largest or probably second largest population of citizens of Muslim faith there has been significantly lower level of participation, and a lower level of radicalization than in other parts of the world, and this is an important fact that should be recognised by the international community," he said, adding that Trump "acknowledged and took note of the fact".
On Pakistan, Modi conveyed that India has never shied away from talking to Islamabad.
However, India expects the "overtures that PM made over the years and ought to have been reciprocated have never been reciprocated", he said, mentioning Modi's visit to Lahore in December 2015 "with minimum security". The terror attack on the Pathankot air base followed immediately, and the perpetrators have not been brought to justice, said Gokhale.
He said that both Modi and Trump felt the two sides must come together to fight terrorism.
"The focus of discussions this time was on the impact of terrorism and the fact that it needs to be understood where the origin of that is, and how we tackle it jointly," he added.
On Trump's offer of mediation, which he had made again during the press conference with Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Monday, Gokhale said that India's position on the issue is fairly clear that "if there are issues to be discussed with Pakistan, it will be discussed bilaterally".
--IANS
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