London   -   Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that peace with India over the disputed territory of Kashmir would be “tremendous” for the wider region.

Imran Khan said the nuclear-armed neighbours could only settle their differences with dialogue.

Asked what message he wanted to send to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his country, Imran told BBC that the Kashmir issue “has to be settled” and “cannot keep boiling like it is”.

“The Kashmir issue cannot keep on boiling like it is because anything happening in Kashmir - through a reaction to the oppression which is taking place in Kashmir - it would be palmed off in Pakistan.

“We would be blamed and tensions would rise as they have risen in the past.

“So if we can settle Kashmir, the benefits of peace are tremendous in the subcontinent,” the prime minister maintained.

“The number-one tasks of the two governments is how are we going to reduce poverty and the way we reduce poverty is by settling our differences through dialogue and there is only one difference - which is Kashmir,” he said.

Imran also spoke about the dangers of confrontation between the two neighbours. “Once you respond, no-one can predict where it can go from there,” he said.

If India had “come back and then again attacked Pakistan, Pakistan would have no choice but to respond,” he added. “So in that situation, two nuclear-armed countries, I just felt it was very irresponsible.”

Imran issued a dire warning to his neighbouring country as he branded India’s attack on his “nuclear-armed” country as “irresponsible” and warned Pakistan “would have no choice” but to strike back in the future.

No previous Pakistani government had done more to clamp down on terrorist groups, he maintained. For him, everything depends on a solution to the Kashmir problem. If India and Pakistan can find that, he said, everything else could be sorted out easily.

During the interview Imran also touched on the case of Aasia Bibi. He said she would be departing the country “very soon”.

“There is a little bit of a complication. And I can’t speak on the media about [it],” he said. “But I can assure you she is safe and she will be leaving in weeks.”