Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday spoke with Narendra Modi and congratulated the Indian leader on the election victory of his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both countries said yesterday.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in the Lok Sabha elections in India,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The prime minister expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their peoples.”
“Reiterating his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia, the prime minister said he looked forward to working with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives,” it added.
Tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed countries, flared in February with cross-border air strikes and a brief battle between fighter jets above Kashmir.
India’s ministry of external affairs confirmed that Prime Minister Khan had called Modi yesterday, adding that the two leaders had discussed fighting poverty together.
“He (Modi) stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering co-operation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the ministry added in a statement.
In February a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir – divided between India and Pakistan since partition in 1947 – claimed by a militant group based in Pakistan killed 40 Indian troops.
India and Pakistan then carried out tit-for-tat air strikes, but to the great relief of the international community the two countries retreated from the brink of further action.
Earlier this month, in a diplomatic victory for India, the UN added Masood Azhar, the leader of the group that claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, to its terrorist blacklist.
The group, Jaish-e-Mohamed (JeM), itself has been on the UN terror list since 2001.
The last time that Modi and Khan spoke is believed to have been when Modi congratulated his counterpart on his election victory in July 2018.
On Thursday Prime Minister Khan had congratulated Modi in a tweet and said that he looked forward to working for “peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia”.
Modi responded in a Twitter message thanking Khan for his “good wishes”, and saying that he wanted peace in the region.
The messages came just hours after Pakistan said it tested a surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads.
India tested its latest supersonic cruise missile on Wednesday.
Analysts say that Modi’s victory could improve relations between the two nations.
“The expectation in Pakistan is that there will be an incremental improvement in Pakistan-India relations as Modi’s attitude would be more relaxed,” retired Pakistani general Talat Masood told local media.
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