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‘Hope Democracy Takes Deeper Roots in Pakistan’: PM Modi Speaks to Imran Khan

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Last Updated: July 30, 2018, 22:50 IST

‘Hope Democracy Takes Deeper Roots in Pakistan’: PM Modi Speaks to Imran Khan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Khan for his victory in the recently conducted elections, in which his PTI emerged as the single largest party.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Pakistan's Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan on Monday and congratulated him for his victory in the recently concluded elections.

In a telephonic conversation, PM Modi expressed hope that democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan and also reiterated his vision of peace and development in the entire neighbourhood.

Imran Khan, in his post poll speech, had expressed willingness to engage with India and said he believed that opening up trade would benefit both the countries.

The PTI chief had on Monday announced that he will take oath as the Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 11. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats in the 272-seat National Assembly. It would need outside support of some minor parties to get to the halfway mark.

The Prime Minister’s conversation with Khan echoes what the government said in a statement on Saturday about his win in the elections. The Ministry of External Affairs had issued a statement to say, “We hope that new Pakistan govt will work constructively to build a safe, stable and secure South Asia free of terror and violence.”

Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India desires a "prosperous and progressive Pakistan at peace with its neighbours". He said India welcomed that the people of Pakistan have reposed their faith in democracy through general elections.

The cricketer-turned-politician, in his first address to the people of Pakistan, said he is ready to improve ties with India and the blame game between the two neighbours, detrimental to the sub-continent, should come to a stop.

He had also said his government wanted to initiate dialogue to resolve the Kashmir dispute, which he described as the "core" issue. “If they take one step towards us, we will take two, but at least (we) need a start,” Khan had said in his first public address.

The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place.

The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016 and India's surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The sentencing of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to death by a military court in April last year further deteriorated bilateral ties

The two sides often accuse each other of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, resulting in civilian casualties.

Experts, however, have pointed out that there is very little possibility of any improvement in New Delhi's ties with Islamabad under Imran Khan as he has been "propped" by the Pakistani military.

"He (Khan) is the Army's man. He is expected to do what the Pakistani Army tells him to do," said former diplomat G Parthasarathy, who has served as India's high commissioner in Islamabad.

Echoing his views, Union minister R K Singh said there was no possibility of any change in Pakistan's policy of hostility towards India under Khan's leadership.
first published:July 30, 2018, 22:30 IST
last updated:July 30, 2018, 22:50 IST