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New Delhi Correspondent
Indian army chief Gen Bipin C Rawat said on Friday that Pakistan needs to develop as a secular state if it wants ‘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. How can we stay together if you say I am an Islamic state and there is no role for anybody else? We are a secular state. So, for us to stay together, both of us have to be secular. If they (Pakistan) are willing to become secular like us, then there seems to be an opportunity,” Rawat told reporters in the western city of Pune.
After Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comments that his country is willing to take two steps in return for a step by India for peace, Genl Rawat said India had taken the first step many times and it is Pakistan must show that it is doing something to curb terror which is a “tradition in that country.”
He said Pakistan’s claim of taking strong steps towards good bilateral relations runs counter to the ground realities.
“There is a contradiction in what they are 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,” the army chief said.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said a few days ago that dialogue between India and Pakistan can start “the moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India” and ruled out India’s participation in a SAARC Summit in Pakistan in the present situation.