Imran Khan spoke to Modi and expressed his desire for both countries to work together

New Delhi: Days after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA swept the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections with a triumphant majority, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday spoke to Narendra Modi and expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their people, Indian Foreign Office said.

Khan also congratulated Modi on his party’s electoral victory in the Lok Sabha elections, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said in a tweet. During the call, PM Modi called for creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism for fostering peace and prosperity in the region.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it was Khan who called up Modi. “The Prime Minister thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan for his telephone call and greetings,” it said. Recalling his initiatives in line with his government’s “neighbourhood first” policy, Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to Khan to fight poverty jointly, the MEA said.

“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,” it added.

Reiterating his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia, Prime Minister Khan said he looks forward to working with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives, Faisal said. The Pakistan PM expressed his desire for both countries to work together for betterment of their peoples, he added.

Soon after NDA swept the General Elections on May 23, Khan was among one of first world leaders to congratulate PM Modi on Twitter. “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.

Following Khan’s tweet on Thursday, PM Modi thanked his Pakistani counterpart for his ‘good wishes’ and said that he had always given primacy to peace and development in our region. NDA under the leadership of PM Modi crafted a landmark victory for a second five-year term in office, winning 353 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that his country is ready to hold talks with the new Indian government to resolve all outstanding issues. Addressing an Iftar dinner in Multan on Saturday, Qureshi said both India and Pakistan should sit on negotiation table to solve issues for the sake of prosperity and peace of the region, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

In April, Khan said he believed there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Modi’s party wins the general elections. The results of India’s general elections are very significant for Pakistan as the new government in New Delhi will determine the course of Indo-Pakistan ties, which were pushed to a new low after the Pulwama terror attack.

Just a day before the announcement of results, Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He conveyed to her Pakistan’s desire to resolve all issues through dialogue.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries flared up after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India.

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