Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated Narendra Modi after it became apparent the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance was set for a landslide victory in General Elections. Khan said he looked forward to working with Modi for the progress of South Asia.
“I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies,” Khan tweeted. “Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia.”
Modi responded to Khan’s congratulatory message a few hours later. “Thank you PM Imran Khan,” he tweeted. “I warmly express my gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region.”
Apart from Khan, several international leaders such as Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena congratulated Modi.
Relations between the two countries nosedived after militants belonging to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit killed 40 security personnel in Pulwama on 14 February. India then carried out airstrikes in Balakot in Pakistan, targeting a Jaish camp.
On April 10, Khan told journalists in an interview that he saw a better chance of peace talks with India if the BJP returned to power. He said if the Congress came to power, it might be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan in Kashmir due to fears of backlash from right-wing groups. “Perhaps if the BJP, a right-wing party, wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” he added.
On Wednesday, Sushma Swaraj said at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, that “our wounds of Pulwama attack were still raw”. India, she added, was determined to fight against terrorism in the neighbourhood.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was also present at the meeting. Qureshi said Pakistan had delivered a “message of peace” by opening the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims from India, adding that Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms.