x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

India ready to give Pakistan 'benefit of the doubt'

New Delhi is prepared to give Pakistan 'the benefit of the doubt' as the two countries strive for peace, India's foreign minister says.

SYDNEY // New Delhi is prepared to give Pakistan “the benefit of the doubt” as the two countries strive for peace, India’s foreign minister said.

The nuclear-armed countries for decades have been at loggerheads over Kashmir, which is divided and administered separately by India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both.

India regularly accuses Pakistan’s army of providing covering fire for armed rebels who cross the border and then mount attacks and in an interview with The Australian newspaper published yesterday, Salman Khurshid admitted the relationship was fraught.

“We talk to Pakistan periodically and in terms of personal gestures we receive great warmth,” he said.

“But the on-the-ground reality and the results of our meetings are very disappointing.”

However, with the Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, last month vowing to go the “extra mile” to make peace with India, Mr Khurshid said New Delhi would take him at his word.

“Pakistan has a lot of very, very difficult issues to deal with at home,” he said.

“Our view is that we should give them time, not at our cost, of course, but that we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

“When Mr Nawaz Sharif says he wants peace and good relations with India, we take him at his word.”

* Agence France-Presse