Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday responded to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan’s congratulatory message and desire to work for stability in South Asia by saying he had always given priority to regional peace and development.
The exchange on Twitter between Modi and Khan followed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) sweeping India’s election. Determining the future course of India-Pakistan ties, which plunged to a low after a suicide attack at Pulwama in Kashmir killed 40 troops in February, is expected to be on the agenda of the new government in New Delhi.
“I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan tweeted.
Hours later, Modi responded by tweeting: “Thank you PM @ImranKhanPTI. I warmly express my gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region.”
Khan said last month he believed there may be a better chance of peace with India if the BJP won the election. “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” he said in an interview.
Tensions flared between India and Pakistan after the suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) in Pulwama on February 14. India responded to the attack by conducting an air strike on a JeM camp at Balakot, deep inside Pakistan, on February 26.
The next day, Pakistan retaliated by targeting Indian military facilities along the Line of Control (LoC). An Indian MiG-21 jet was downed in an engagement on the LoC and its pilot was captured and briefly detained before being handed over to India.