'Friends can change not neighbours': Omar Abdullah calls out AB Vajpayee on Mani Shankar Iyer's 'respect Pakistan' remark

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on May 11 invited former Prime Minister and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee to India after the new government at the Center after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Emphasizing the dialogue between Pakistan and said.

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) Vice President Abdullah hoped that the new governments in Pakistan and India would create a favorable environment for dialogue between the two countries to resolve the issues.

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We do not talk with neighboring countries only in terms of their nuclear weapons. We are neighbors (except Pakistan which doesn't have nuclear weapons. But we try to have good relations with them. Be it Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar), Abdullah, J from Baramulla seat. KNC candidate, he told reporters on the campaign trail on Saturday.

Abdullah was replying to a question on Congress leader Mani Shankar Iyer's 'respect Pakistan' remark that drew criticism from opposition parties. During the election season, Aghyar's comments that “Pakistan is a respectable country that also has an atomic bomb” were criticized by top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Congress also distanced itself from his comments.

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As far as relations with Pakistan are concerned, (former prime minister) AB Vajpayee once said that you can change friends but not neighbours, Abdullah said. He said, “A new government has been formed in Pakistan recently. A new government will be formed in India after the declaration of results on June 4. We hope that the leaders of both the countries will hold talks and resolve the issues.” will create a favorable environment for

Vajpayee had said in Parliament in 2003 that friendship with Pakistan should be maintained as much as possible. I have told my Pakistani friends that friends can be changed but neighbors not. We have to stay here. We either remain friends or we continue to fight, making ourselves a laughing stock in front of the world,” Vajpayee told the Lok Sabha in May 2003 during a debate on India-Pakistan relations.

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