Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called Prime Minister Narendra Modi today to congratulate him on his landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections. The foreign ministry said PM Modi thanked Imran Khan for his telephone call and greetings.
“Recalling his initiatives in line with his government’s neighbourhood first policy, Prime Minister Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to fight poverty jointly. He stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the statement from the foreign ministry read.
On May 23, the day of election results, Imran Khan had tweeted to PM Modi on his thumping win.
“I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” he tweeted.
PM Modi had responded to the tweet.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Islamabad is ready to hold talks with the new Indian government, according to news agency IANS. Over the last years, India has refused any initiative for talks, contending that cross-border terror has to stop before talks can begin.
Relations with Pakistan- tottering since the terror strike at Uri in 2016 — took a nosedive after a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14. Days later, India conducted air-strikes on a Jaish camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26. The Pakistan Air Force struck back, targeting civilian and military installations in India and captured Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.
In April, Imran Khan was quoted as saying that he saw a better chance of peace talks with India if PM Modi’s BJP won the elections. The cricketer-turned-politician had said if the next government in India were led by the Congress party, it might be “too scared” to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir, fearing a backlash.
“Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” Imran Khan was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.
The BJP swept the crucial national elections and decimated the Congress by winning 303 seats alone, surpassing its massive 282 seat win of 2014. The party along with its coalition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won a whopping 352 seats in the general elections paving way for Narendra Modi’s second term as Prime Minister.