Writes that he looks forward to engagement in violence-free atmosphere

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has replied to the letter written by Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif last week, thanking Mr. Sharif for the sari he had gifted to his mother and saying that he looked forward to engaging Pakistan “in an atmosphere free from confrontation and violence in order to chart a new course in our bilateral relations.”

In the letter dated June 11, Mr. Modi wrote that Mr. Sharif’s presence and that of the other SAARC leaders added a special “sheen” to the swearing-in ceremony of his government. “It was also a celebration of the strength of democracy in our region and a reflection of our collective hopes and shared destinies,” he wrote.

Mr. Modi’s letter on bilateral ties was released on Friday even as Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire at the Line of Control in Rajouri on Friday morning.

The exchange of letters seems to indicate Mr. Modi’s desire for more direct diplomacy with Mr. Sharif. Many in the government were taken by surprise at the speed of correspondence.

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