UNITED NATIONS - India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that he wants to hold bilateral talks with neighboring Pakistan “without a shadow of terrorism,” a day after Pakistan's prime minister expressed frustration over stalled talks over Kashmir.
Last month, India announced it was withdrawing from the planned peace talks about the disputed Himalayan region between the two nuclear-armed neighbors because of plans by Pakistan to consult Kashmiri separatists ahead of the meeting.
“I want to hold bilateral talks to improve friendship and cooperation in all seriousness and in an atmosphere of peace, without a shadow of terrorism,” Modi, speaking in Hindi, told the United Nations General Assembly in his first address to the world body.
“But this is also the duty of Pakistan to come forward and create an appropriate atmosphere and with all seriousness come forward for a bilateral dialog,” he said.
India says Pakistan supports separatist militants that cross the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan-controlled regions, from the Pakistan side to attack Indian forces.
Modi appeared to chastise Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had used his own General Assembly address on Friday to blame India for the collapse of the latest talks over Kashmir.
“By raising this issue in this forum,” Modi said, “I don't know how serious our efforts will be, and some people are doubtful about it.”
Modi is due to have private meetings with the prime ministers of Nepal and Bangladesh and the president of Sri Lanka on Saturday in New York, but no meetings are planned with Sharif or other Pakistani officials, according to the Indian delegation.