Modi calls Imran Khan, congratulates him over PTI’s victory


–PTI quotes Indian premier as saying ‘ready to enter new era of ties with Pakistan’

“We are ready to enter a new era of relations with Pakistan,” Modi was quoted as saying by the PTI press release.

According to the statement, Modi said both the countries should adopt a joint strategy for progress in bilateral ties.

A statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs from New Delhi said Modi had spoken to Khan and “congratulated him for his party emerging as the largest political party in the National Assembly of Pakistan in the recently conducted general elections.”

“Prime Minister [Modi] expressed hope that democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan,” the statement quoted Modi as saying.

Modi also reiterated his “vision of peace and development in the entire neighbourhood” during his conversation with Khan.

According to the PTI statement, Khan thanked the Indian prime minister for his good wishes.

“The solution to conflicts should be found through dialogue,” he was quoted as telling Modi.

“Instead of answers to conflicts, wars and bloodbath give birth to tragedies,” the PTI chief said, according to the press release, adding that the two governments should devise a joint plan of action to free people of both countries from the cruel trap of poverty.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that India has intensified contacts with PTI chief Imran Khan in the run-up to government formation.

According to Indian newspaper Times of India, the Indian mission remains in touch with senior PTI leaders who are likely to play an important role in the new government.

“While the PTI campaign was not completely devoid of anti-India rhetoric, the Indian side understands that this had more to do with the rough and tumble of Pakistan politics than any antipathy of India,” the Indian newspaper further mentioned.

Khan’s party has also been appreciative of the fact that the Indian side, contrary to the popular perception in Pakistan that the Narendra Modi government wanted Nawaz Sharif’s party to return to power, remained equidistant from all parties.

“They know that the Indian mission was as much in touch with PTI as with PML-N or even with PPP”, said a source of Indian media outlet.

Indian officials had not ruled out the possibility of PM Modi making a congratulatory phone call, like Afghan President Ashraf Ghani did on Sunday.

India closely followed Ghani’s telephonic conversation with Khan in which, as the Afghan president announced on Twitter, both leaders agreed to overcome the past and to lay a new foundation “for a prosperous political, social and economic future” of both countries.