State Times News New Delhi/Islamabad: In their first telephonic conversation after the Balakot airstrikes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on Sunday that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism was essential for fostering peace and prosperity in the region. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it was Khan who called up Modi to congratulate him on his re-election. “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 was essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” it added. The telephonic conversation came amid strained bilateral ties since nearly three months following the Pulwama terror attack and India’s subsequent aerial strikes on a terror training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
Khan had also congratulated Modi on Twitter last week after the BJP’s massive victory in the general election.
Reiterating his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia, Khan said he looked forward to working with Modi to advance these objectives, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said on Twitter.
Khan also expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their people, he added.
Modi and Khan are scheduled to meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan next month.
After the election results on Thursday, Khan tweeted in both English and Urdu: “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.”
Meanwhile, the MEA also said Modi received telephone calls from former president of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed and former prime minister of Nepal Madhav Nepal on his poll victory.
“Former president Nasheed congratulated the Prime Minister on the historic mandate and noted that the relationship between the Maldives and India had deepened in recent times,” the MEA said.
He stressed the importance of close cooperation to fight the forces of extremism and radicalisation in the region, it added.
On his part, Modi thanked Nasheed for his felicitation and reiterated his commitment to continue fostering a strong, mutually beneficial and all-round partnership between the two countries.
The MEA said Madhav Nepal warmly congratulated Modi on leading his party and alliance to a grand, historic and landslide poll victory.
He also expressed the confidence that India’s emergence as a front-ranking world power would qualitatively uplift the entire region.
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