Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif sent a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi calling for “meaningful” engagement between the two countries, people familiar with development said on Sunday.
They said Sharif’s call on Saturday was in response to a letter Modi sent to the Pakistani leader congratulating him on his assumption of the premiership.
In his message a few days ago, Modi conveyed to Sharif that India is willing to have constructive relations with Pakistan.
On April 11, Pakistan’s parliament chose Sharif as the country’s 23rd prime minister, a day after Imran Khan was ousted from power in a vote of no confidence.
In a tweet on Twitter, Modi congratulated Sharif on assuming the premiership of Pakistan and said that India desires peace and stability in a terrorism-free region.
“Congratulations to His Excellency Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on his election as Prime Minister of Pakistan. India desires peace and stability in a terrorism-free region, so that we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the well-being and prosperity of our people.” He tweeted on April 11.
In his response, Sharif said that Pakistan desires to establish peaceful and cooperative relations with India.
“Thank you Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his congratulations. Pakistan desires peaceful and cooperative relations with India. Peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes including Jammu and Kashmir is indispensable. Pakistan’s sacrifices in combating terrorism are well known. Let us achieve peace and focus on social and economic development of our people The Pakistani Prime Minister tweeted.
It was learned that Sharif, in his response to Modi’s letter, also sought to resolve outstanding issues, including the Kashmir issue, while emphasizing that Pakistan favors peaceful and cooperative relations with India.
India insists on its desire to establish normal neighborly relations with Pakistan while insisting that it is Islamabad’s responsibility to create an environment free of terrorism and hostility to such participation.
Relations between India and Pakistan came under severe strain after Indian warplanes bombed a terrorist training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot in Pakistan in February 2019 in response to the Pulwama terrorist attack.
Relations deteriorated further after India announced in August 2019 the withdrawal of the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and the division of the state into two federal regions.
“It is the consistent position of the government that India desires to establish normal neighborly relations with Pakistan and is committed to addressing issues, if any, bilaterally and peacefully in an atmosphere free from terrorism, hostility and violence,” Minister of State for External Affairs Muralidaran said in a statement. Parliament on April 7 while answering a question.
“The responsibility lies with Pakistan to create such a favorable atmosphere,” he added.
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