The Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s s greetings and best wishes to the people of Pakistan on the National Day of Pakistan. Khan, in a tweet, said PM Modi told him that it is time for people of the subcontinent to work together ‘for a peaceful and prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence’. The Pakistani PM believes it is time to begin a comprehensive dialogue with India to address and resolve all issues.
India’s response comes nearly a month after it was involved in an aerial dogfight with the Pakistani Air Force, following the Indian Air Force bombing a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp in Balakot, Pakistan. The pre-emptive action was taken following the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 in which over 40 CRPF soldiers were killed.
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However, Khan appreciating Modi’s greetings warmly didn’t go well with the people on both sides of the border. According to Musharraf Zaidi, a political analyst, Indian PM’s message was a refreshing change for a leader that, only a month ago, was beating the war drums.
He said “If Pakistan’s consistent pro-normalization approach since the spring of 2018 eventually yields better relations; it will be the benefit of both countries.”
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Nonetheless, Abdul Basit, former High Commissioner to India said this was a routine message, ‘reiterating the mantra of terror and talks cannot go together’. And he also pointed out that ‘interestingly’, the information was tweeted by Khan and not Modi.
Meanwhile, Indian officials did not attend the National Day event organized by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi as Hurriyat leaders from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) were also invited. Raveesh Kumar, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said they had made it very clear in February that any attempt by the Pakistan High Commission or Pakistani leadership to engage with the Hurriyat leaders will not be taken lightly.