ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has written to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, expressing satisfaction with their “meaningful” first “meeting” on the occasion of his swearing in.
As the rival neighbours attempt at bettering their relations, Nawaz, in his letter to Modi, stated that future of both the countries is intertwined in common economic destiny and showed his earnest desire to lay the foundation of much brighter future for the people of both the states, according to a press release issued by PM Office here.
Premiere Nawaz held talks with Modi last month when on latter’s invitation he visited New Delhi to attend the inauguration of the Hindu nationalist Indian premier. The invitation to Sharif for the May 26 ceremony from Modi, who swept to power in a landslide election victory, was a surprise move seen as a significant olive branch to India’s Muslim neighbour.
“I must say that I have returned much satisfied with our meaningful exchange of thoughts on matters of bilateral and regional interests,“ PM Nawaz said in the letter while referring to his May 27 meeting with Modi. He also expressed his will to work with the new Indian prime minister in harmony to resolve the unsettled matters for the benefit of both the nations.
He mentioned that millions in Pakistan and India were living in poverty who deserved the foremost attention of their governments. “In many ways their future is integrated with our common economic destiny, and I firmly believe that in our concerted efforts lie the welfare and prosperity of our two nations,” the prime minister said. “It is my earnest hope that our endeavours will lay the foundation for a much brighter future,” he added.
In the letter that was sent last week to India’s foreign ministry through the Pakistan High Commission and published in India media on Wednesday, Nawaz thanked Modi for “this generous hospitality” in the enduring sub-continental tradition. Political and defence analysts were terming the letter a positive development in the Indo-Pak relations that would go a long way in diluting the tension between the two nuclear neighbours.
On the other hand, the United States Wednesday welcomed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif move to write to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi about the urgent need to resolve disputes peacefully for economic well-being of the people, The Nation’s Special Correspondent reported from Washington on Wednesday.
The US said it always encourages steps that promote dialogue between the two countries. “We encourage dialogue between India and Pakistan and —we think that’s a positive step,” State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said while responding to a question from a Pakistani jourtnalist at the press briefing.
The spokesperson was asked to comment on the Pakistani leader’s letter to Prime Minister Modi in which he underscored the need for the two South Asian neighbours to settle matters in harmony for the common economic well-being of the two nations.
When asked whether US expected some reciprocity on part of India, she referred reporters to New Delhi for its response to the latest peace move by Prime Minister Sharif, who last month also attended his Indian counterpart’s swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi. “We believe dialogue is an important step in the process between India and Pakistan and we certainly encourage (that),” she added.
Questioned in what way the United States was helping to improve Pakistan’s capacity to fight terrorism, Psaki said that cooperation between Islamabad and Washington in this field was on going, and she specifically mentioned the US offer to help in the investigation of the Sunday’s terrorist attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. “We have not had any response from Pakistan, but the offer remains on the table.”
Agencies add: Bilateral ties broke down after attacks by gunmen on India’s commercial hub Mumbai in 2008, in which 166 people were killed. An unresolved territorial dispute over Kashmir in the Himalayan region remains a major source of ongoing tension. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.
Their last war was in 1999 when Modi’s party was last in office at the national level and Sharif was in power during a previous stint as premier.
Modi, expected to be a hawk in office, has surprised some commentators by reaching out to Pakistan and regional rival China, whose foreign minister travelled to Delhi for talks with Modi on Monday. He and PM Nawaz Sharif are expected to meet again in September on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in New York in September.