Pakistan PM says ready to go 'extra mile' with India

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on October 22, 2013. Mr Sharif vowed on Tuesday to go the "extra mile" to make peace with India, saying the historic rivals can resolve all issues through dialogu
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on October 22, 2013. Mr Sharif vowed on Tuesday to go the "extra mile" to make peace with India, saying the historic rivals can resolve all issues through dialogue. Mr Sharif, addressing the US Institute of Peace in Washington, said that Pakistan "will not be found wanting in walking the extra mile" with India. -- PHOTO: AFP 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed on Tuesday to go the "extra mile" to make peace with India, saying the historic rivals can resolve all issues through dialogue.

Mr Sharif, on a visit to Washington where he will see President Barack Obama on Wednesday, regretted that periodic incidents such as violence on the disputed border in Kashmir had set back peace attempts.

“I wish to assure this August audience that Pakistan desires to live in peace with its neighbour. We would not be found wanting in walking the extra mile,” he said at the US Institute of Peace.

“If we sit down together, if we seriously address these issues, I don’t think we will face any problem,” he said.

“Kashmir, of course, is a very difficult issue and very difficult to resolve but I think, by sitting and talking, we will be able to find some way of resolving that, too,” he said.

“Because that is a flashpoint not only in the region, but the whole world,” he said of Kashmir.

Mr Sharif, who swept back to power in May, noted that he was involved in a major peace initiative with India in 1999 when his then counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Pakistan.

The effort collapsed within months as Pakistan-backed forces infiltrated the Indian zone of Kashmir, which has been the source of two full-fledged wars between the nuclear powers.

Mr Sharif blamed the 1999 Kargil conflict on army chief Pervez Musharraf, who later ousted him from power, and repeated his past criticism of the focus on military spending.

“Had our countries not wasted their precious resources in a never-ending arms race, we would not only have avoided the futile conflicts, but also emerged as stable and prosperous nations,” he said.