Islamabad : A top Pakistan military official has said the country’s offer to India for dialogue always remained on the table and underscored that any progress towards normalisation was dependent on the attitude of the two sides to the process.

Director General of the Inter-Services Public Rela­tions Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor made the remarks on Monday while speaking at a media briefing, reports Dawn news.

“To normalise ties we would have to review many things, we would have to introspect, and for moving forward both sides would have to show positivity,” Ghafoor said and added that there was no space for war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The military spokesman, who was speaking to the media for the first time since Pakistan and India renewed their 2003 ceasefire agreement last week, stressed the need for honouring the understanding.

He said Pakistan “may not even respond to the first bullet as long as it does not cause any casualty, but the second one would not go unresponded”.

“We expect India to take this (ceasefire renewal) forward in a positive manner instead of reverting to violations,” the spokesman added.

‘Military drills will help ease Indo-Pak tensions’

Beijing: A joint military exercise of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states to be held in Russia in which Indian and Pakistani armies are taking part for the first time will help ease tensions between the two neighbours and promote positive interactions, Chinese experts have said.

Member states of the SCO will participate in the joint military drill dubbed Peace Mission 2018 to promote mutual trust, cooperation and coordination against terrorist threats and to maintain regional peace and stability, the China Daily reported on Tuesday.

The drill will follow the 18th SCO Summit, scheduled for June 9 and 10 in Qingdao, Shandong province, the daily said. The summit will be attended by a host of world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The last exercise of the SCO was held in Kyrgyzstan in September 2016. The 2018 exercise will be the first for India and Pakistan since becoming full members of the SCO in 2017.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became its members last year.

It also will be the first time India and Pakistan take part in a military exercise together since their independence, though their militaries have previously worked on United Nations peacekeeping missions, the daily said.

Li Xing, a professor of international relations at Beijing Normal University, said India and Pakistan joining the exercise represents a new height in security cooperation through the SCO.

“India and Pakistan have had many conflicts, but the SCO exercise can facilitate positive interactions between the two militaries and help ease tensions between the two countries,” Li said.

Li Li, a researcher of South Asian countries at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said many exchange mechanisms between Pakistan and India have been halted due to constant border tensions.

“It is very rare for the Indian and Pakistani militaries to interact with each other,” she said.

“The SCO is a great platform for member nations to build mutual trust, improve their ability to tackle terrorist threats and maintain regional peace and security,” she told the daily.

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