New Delhi, Oct 1 (PTI) India on Thursday said it desires to have normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an atmosphere free of terror, hostility and violence and the onus is on Islamabad to create such an environment.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India's efforts to step up engagement with the countries of the region are reflection of its 'Neighbourhood First policy'. 'This is certainly a reflection of our Neighbourhood First policy, wherein the government is committed to developing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with our neighbours,' he said at a media briefing.
He said India's engagement with these countries is based on a consultative, non-reciprocal and outcome oriented approach.
Srivastava was replying to a question on India's renewed efforts in the last few months to further expand ties with Bangladesh, Myanmar, the Maldives and several other countries of the region.
'We have a large development cooperation footprint in these countries and we are engaged in several projects for greater connectivity, improved infrastructure and broader people-to-people contacts,' he said.
On Pakistan, he said the onus is on Islamabad to create an environment for normal ties.
'As regards Pakistan, the government has conveyed that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility and violence. The onus is on Pakistan for creating such an environment,' he said.
The ties between India and Pakistan came under severe strain after India's war planes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot in Pakistan in February last year in response to the Pulwama terror attack.
The relations further deteriorated after India on August 5 last year announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories. PTI MPB ZMN