Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan dialled Narendra Modi on Sunday to congratulate the Indian Prime Minister-elect on his re-election, establishing the first contact at the highest level since the Pulwama massacre and the Balakot air strikes.
Modi told Khan that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism was essential to fostering peace and prosperity in the region, the Indian external affairs ministry said in a statement. “The Prime Minister thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan for his telephone call and greetings,” it said.
Modi, according to a readout on his side of the conversation, also spoke about the initiatives taken by his government in the first term as part of the Neighbourhood First policy, renewing his earlier suggestion to Khan for India and Pakistan to jointly fight poverty.
According to a statement put out by the Pakistan foreign office, Khan expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their people. Iterating his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia, Khan said he hoped to work with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives.
On the eve of the general election, Khan had said: “Perhaps if the BJP wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached.”
Last week, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had “exchanged pleasantries” with her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Kyrgyzstan.
Since Khan took over as Premier in July last year, Modi has spoken to him only once — to congratulate him on his election win. There is no official word yet whether there will be any foreign presence at Modi’s swearing-in, scheduled for Thursday evening.