NEW DELHI: Pakistan High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit on Friday said that “Pakistan is not begging for dialogue. If India is not ready, we can always wait.” In a comprehensive interview with Indian newspaper “The Hindu”, Abdul Basit discussing the increasing hostility between India and Pakistan highlighted “the need to break the impasse” between the two countries.

He said “Talking to each other is inevitable. Whether it happens one year down the road or three years down the road.” Speaking in relation to the possibility of talks at the Heart of Asia conference, Basit said that Pakistan remains open to “any proposal for talks from the Indian side,” adding during the conference attention must remain on Afghanistan. “Whether or not there are bilateral talks, our adviser is coming because Afghanistan is important for us, its stability and economy are important for us so we will participate constructively,” Basit said.

Basit was asked whether Pakistan was worried about being cornered by Afghanistan and India at the conference on account of both countries holding Pakistan responsible for the ‘cross-border terrorism’ they face. Basit responded by stating that Pakistan had no such concerns as terrorism is an important issue for the country as well. “Why should we worry because terrorism is also an important issue for us.” “There is zero tolerance for terrorism in Pakistan,” Basit added. He highlighted that in the past Pakistan has taken action against “proscribed” militant groups such as Jaish-i-Muhammad and Lashkar-i-Taiba.

About PM Modi’s recent statement on Indus Water Treaty, Abdul Basit pointed out that Indus Water Treaty is a permanent treaty as it can neither be changed nor abandoned unilaterally.

He said that firing along the LoC must be brought to an end and diplomacy should remain the primary means to reach solution on the Kashmir front.

Basit described the relationship between India and Pakistan as “one step forward, two steps back and then discuss how to break the ice again.”

He stated that incidents such as the July 8 killing of Burhan Wani bring the countries back to “square one”, whenever progress on holding talks is seen.

Basit added there has been a “feeling in Islamabad that there is no desire for a comprehensive dialogue in Delhi,” since the killing of Burhan Wani by Indian forces on July 8.

He said that Pakistan will continue to extend moral and diplomatic support to the people of Held Kashmir.

To expect Pakistan to look the other way would not be possible as we are not alone and the OIC has issued a statement on support of Kashmir solution, he said.

UN Human Rights Commissioner wants to send a fact-finding mission there, he added.

To a question, Basit said “If SAARC couldn’t be held that is our collective loss. We also have serious issues on terrorism while the entire leadership of the TTP, for example, is in Afghanistan,” he said.

To another question, the High Commissioner said if Russia engages with Pakistan how is it a loss for India? We are living in a world that is transforming in many ways.

Russia is a sovereign country, so is Pakistan as China and India have very good relations, China is one of India’s biggest trading partners, but that doesn’t have an impact on Pakistan and China’s strategic partnership, Basit added.

All good relations work to our collective advantage, he said.

I don’t subscribe to this zero sum game as we also remember, Russia played an important part when the Tashkent agreement happened, so good relations always help, he said.