Amid Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s fresh efforts to resume bilateral dialogue with India, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday said that Islamabad has to become a secular state to stay together with India. “Pakistan has made its state an Islamic State. If they have to stay together with India, then they've to develop as a secular state. We are a secular state. If they're willing to become secular like us, then they seem to have an opportunity,” ANI quoted General Rawat as saying.
Referring to Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s statement that if India takes one step, they will take two, the Army Chief asserted that India's policy of "terror and talks can't go together" will remain unchanged if Islamabad’s efforts show some positive effect on the ground.
“They (Pakistan) are saying you take one step, we will take two. There is a contradiction in what they're saying. One step from there should come in a positive manner, we will see if the step has an effect on the ground. Till then our nation has a clear policy- terror and talks can't go together,” he said.
The Army Chief's remarks came a day after Imran Khan's statement that while Pakistan wants peaceful ties with India, the latter is holding on to the past and imposing preconditions on talks.
"How can you have preconditions in talks? Let’s talk and then we will for sure find ways to bring peace," the Pakistani PM said.
Khan insisted that Pakistan has changed and wants peace with India to progress together but their efforts, he added, should not be understood as a desperate measure.
"In Pakistan, we are making agreements within all parties regarding peace with India. We are all on the same page. But our efforts at peace should not be understood as a desperate measure by us. We are not desperate. But we want peace so that both countries could progress".
Recently, India had rejected Pakistan's invitation to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, saying that dialogue at any level with Pakistan will not be possible until and unless it stops terror activities in India.
"We are not responding to it (Pakistan's invitation for SAARC summit) positively because as I said unless and until Pakistan stops terror activities in India, there will be no dialogue, so we will not participate in SAARC summit," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said.