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Pakistan PM Imran Khan calls up PM Modi, expresses desire to work together

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. File

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. File   | Photo Credit: AP

This is the first direct communication between Pakistan PM Imran Khan and PM Narendra Modi since the February 14 Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot air strike that India carried out subsequently

Elimination of terrorism is necessary for regional peace and development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan during the latter’s congratulatory phone call on Sunday.

The conversation was the first telephone contact between the two Prime Ministers since the February Pulwama terror attack and the subsequent Balakot air strike by India.

Mr Modi had called up Mr Khan when the latter took charge last July.

Need for trust

“Mr Modi stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said after Mr Khan’s phone call.

Mr Modi also recollected initiatives like “Neighbourhood First” that were started during his first tenure from 2014-’19.

The Pakistan Foreign Office said Mr Khan had reiterated his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia during the phone call.

“The Prime Minister said he looked forward to working with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives,” Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said on social media.

On May 22, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi had interacted with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. The two Prime Ministers are expected to participate in the upcoming SCO summit meeting in June in the same location.

Maldives visit?

On Sunday, former President of the Maldives Mohammed Nasheed called the Prime Minister on the election victory, stressing the need for a joint fight against extremism and radicalism in South Asia. The phone call came even as Maldives media outlet ‘Raajje’, reported that Mr. Modi is likely to select Maldives as his first foreign visit after the swearing-in.

However, there has been no official confirmation of the visit. A similar unconfirmed report of a possible visit to Bangladesh has also appeared in media in Dhaka.

In a press release, the MEA said Madhav Nepal, former Prime Minister of Nepal also congratulated Mr. Modi on his election victory. “He expressed confidence that India’s emergence as a front-ranking world power would qualitatively uplift the entire region,” the MEA said.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2020 5:49:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-pm-imran-khan-calls-up-pm-modi-expresses-desire-to-work-together/article27253806.ece

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