Modi stresses for trust, fight against poverty as Pak PM calls to congratulate him

Wednesday 29th May 2019 06:43 EDT

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated the need for "jointly fighting against poverty, creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism in the region" when his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan dialed to congratulate him for his resounding victory in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections.

"The Prime Minister thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan 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 Imran Khan 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," said an official statement.

The Pakistan foreign office spokesperson quoted Khan as saying, “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.” Earlier, Khan had congratulated Modi on Twitter over his election victory on May 23 and Modi had acknowledged the gesture positively.

The interactions between the two countries have been sporadic. It was the first conversation between Modi and Khan after India’s air strikes in Balakot targeting a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp exactly three months ago and after a long election season in India. Modi made it clear that end to terrorism and violence was a condition for dialogue to start, in keeping with the government's preparedness to retaliate against terrorism and its crackdown on Pakistan-aligned elements in the Kashmir Valley.

The President’s office declared that PM Narendra Modi will take oath of office for his second term along with his new council of ministers on May 30. The names of ministers are yet to be disclosed.

There is a lot of speculation about Modi inviting foreign leaders again for his swearing in ceremony. But the readout of the Modi-Khan conversation made it clear that no such invitation was made to Khan.

Narendra Modi and Imran Khan are likely to meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in mid-June at the SCO summit, the first multilateral outing for Modi after his re-election. Interestingly, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Khan had said that there might be a better chance of peace talks with India if Prime Minister Modi wins the elections.

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