Adding a bit of warmth to the strained ties between India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called up Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to convey best wishes to his nation in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Media reports said Mr. Modi joked about Mr. Sharif playing a warm-up World Cup match in 1987 alongside cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who is now Pakistan's top opposition leader. Mr Sharif reportedly laughed and said, "Kash vo Din Dubaara Aata (I wish those days would come back.)"
He spoke with Presidents of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and Prime Minister of Bangladesh as well. All nations have teams participating in the World Cup that is on in New Zealand and Australia.
"Spoke to President @ashrafghani, PM Sheikh Hasina, PM Nawaz Sharif & President Sirisena. Conveyed my best wishes for the Cricket World Cup," Mr. Modi said in a tweet.
Spoke to President >@ashrafghani , PM Sheikh Hasina, PM Nawaz Sharif & President Sirisena. Conveyed my best wishes for the Cricket World Cup. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) >February 13, 2015
With five SAARC nations playing in the World Cup, the PM acknowledged the role of cricket in the region. "Cricket connects people in our region & promotes goodwill. Hope players from SAARC region play with passion & bring laurels to the region," he tweeted. He revealed that the new Foreign Secretary, S. Jaishankar, will soon set out on a SAARC Yatra to "further strengthen our ties."
Mr. Jaishankar’s visit to Pakistan will be significant given that India had cancelled the Foreign Secretary-level talks in August last year after the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi held consultations with the Kashmiri separatists on the eve of the Indo-Pak talks.
Prime Minister’s remarks on Friday came a day after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit met Mr Jaishankar on Thursday. The meeting was described as a courtesy call by the officials.
“It was a very cordial meeting where both of them discussed the status of Indo-Pak ties,” sources said.
With PTI inputs