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Imran congratulates Modi, 'looks forward' to work with him (Lead)

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Islamabad | Friday, 2019 1:15:05 AM IST
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the Lok Sabha poll victory and said that he looks forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia.

"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," tweeted Khan as the Modi-led BJP headed for a landslide victory in the general elections.

Khan's congratulatory message came a day before Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek

They were seated next to each other during an interaction with Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov amid strain in ties between the two neighbours following the Pulwama terror attack which killed over 40 CRPF personnel that resulted in heightened military tensions.

But according to MEA sources, there was no meeting and only exchange of pleasantries between the two leaders.

Pakistan media outlet Dawn however, said that Qureshi and Sushma Swaraj held "an informal dialogue" on the sidelines of the SCO meeting.

"Today (I) met Sushma Ji. She had a complaint that we sometimes talk in a bitter manner. She brought sweets today so we could also speak sweetly," Qureshi was quoted as saying by the Foreign Office, according to the Dawn.

"We made it clear to her that we want all the matters resolved through dialogue, and that Prime Minister Imran Khan had said in his very first speech that if India takes one step forward, we would take two steps forward. Even today we are ready for a dialogue," he was quoted as saying.

Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad were triggered after the February 14 attack which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

India had later carried out air strikes at a terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26.

A day after, the Air Forces of both the countries engaged in an aerial combat in which Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman shot down one of the Pakistani Air Force jets.

He was then captured by Pakistan but was released later by Islamabad as a "peace gesture".

Both countries are now expected to look for a thaw in bilateral ties after a new government assumes office in Delhi.

--IANS soni/ksk

( 414 Words)

2019-05-23-19:08:06 (IANS)

 
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