17 September 2018
New Delhi: Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh on Monday said that Pakistan is still virtually being ruled by its Army as new Prime Minister Imran Khan has been propped up by it.
"After all, if a person is propped up by the Army, the Army still rules," Singh said while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by industry body Ficci here.
"Let's wait and watch how things go, whether the person remains under the Army's control or doesn't," he said.
Asked about the prospects of talks between New Delhi and Islamabad, he reiterated that India's policy is very clear.
"Dialogue will happen provided the environment is made conducive for it," Singh said.
His remarks come amid wide speculation about talks between India and Pakistan after Khan, who assumed office last month, said that the two neighbours must hold a dialogue "and resolve their conflicts, including Kashmir".
Khan said that the best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the sub-continent is to resolve differences between the two sides through dialogue and start trading.
Asked about Pakistan opening up the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara corridor, Singh said nothing has come about yet.
"This issue has been going on for a long time," he said. "There is nothing that has come about."
Last month, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought the intervention of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in seeking access from the Pakistan government for devotees to visit the historic gurdwara in Kartapur on the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev.
Punjab Minister and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu also sought Sushma Swaraj's intervention in this matter in a letter earlier this month.
Sidhu, who was present at the swearing-in of his "friend" Imran Khan as the Pakistan Prime Minister on August 18 in Islamabad, has been claiming that he has been virtually instrumental in getting the Kartarpur corridor opened to devotees.
"Pakistan has shown a positive intent towards the long-pending corridor demand. Some positivity came out when I visited Pakistan for the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan," Sidhu said in his letter.
"Now their Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary has categorically said that the corridor will be opened and even visas won't be required to visit the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara as part of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. It is time for India to take a positive step on this highly emotional issue."