ISLAMABAD   -   Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday telephoned his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and expressed the desire to work together as the two countries eye resumption of the dialogue process.

The PM congratulated Modi on his Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral victory in the Indian election, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed his desire for both countries to work together for betterment of their people,” Dr Faisal added.

The spokesperson said that Imran Khan reiterated his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia and expressed that he “looks forward to work with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives.”

In a statement in New Delhi, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked Imran Khan for his telephone call and greetings. “Recalling his initiatives in line with his government’s neighbourhood first policy, Prime Minister Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to fight poverty jointly. He 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 statement from the Indian ministry further read.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet, earlier, had also congratulated Modi and said he looked forward to working for “peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia. Modi responded in a Twitter message thanking his arch-rival for his ‘good wishes’ and saying he wanted peace in the region.

After a prolonged tension, Pakistan and India are hopeful of a meeting between the Pakistani and Indian prime ministers in the United Kingdom in the coming weeks.

Imran Khan and Modi are likely to visit London to watch world cup cricket matches in the same week of June this year and there is a strong possibility of both the leaders meeting there.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will fly to London on June 12 on a three-day official visit. This would be his first visit to the UK after assuming office last year.

The United Kingdom has already conveyed to Pakistan and India that it is ready to host Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Indian counterpart - Narendra Modi or any new elected Indian premier after the national polls - for talks amid speculations of a meeting in London on the sidelines of cricket World Cup in the coming weeks.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since the killing of a Kashmiri freedom fighter, Burhan Wani, in July 2016. An attack on Indian forces in September 2016 - that killed 19 soldiers in Uri area of held Kashmir - further heightened the tensions. India also claimed it had carried a “surgical strike” to avenge the Uri attack. Pakistan rejected the Indian assertion.

Last week, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held an informal meeting with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers moot in Bishkek.

“I told Sushma Swaraj that we are still firm on the statement of PM Imran Khan that if India takes one step forward, Pakistan would reciprocate with two,” Qureshi later said.

He added: “Sushma Swaraj pointed that I sometimes speak harsh so she has brought some sweets for me so that I talk sweet. In response, I said we are positive on holding negotiations with your country on all issues.”

Condemning terrorism in all its forms, the foreign minister stressed the need for addressing root causes of the curse, saying Pakistan was amongst the few countries which successfully countered terrorism.

The Foreign Minister said conflict resolution is important for peace and stability in the South Asian region. He said Pakistan has given the message of peace by opening the Kartarpur Corridor for the Sikh community.