A new era of co-operation: Modi congratulates Imran Khan
After the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party emerged victorious in the recent Pakistan elections, Prime Minister Modi called up Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister – Imran Khan to extend his congratulations to the ex-cricketing hero.
A press note from the Ministry of External Affairs informed that the Prime Minister spoke about his vision of development and peace in the South Asia region, while a read-out from the Pakistani party further claimed that there had been proposed talks regarding a “joint strategy” for progress in bilateral affairs. The Ministry was also the first source to reveal about Modi’s call to Khan and his congratulatory message. The notification from the Ministry also spoke about Modi’s wishes about democracy taking deeper roots in Pakistan.
The PTI emerged the winners of the recent parliamentary elections in Pakistan amidst a tense environment of strong opposition, rigging allegations and a suicide bombing at a polling booth that killed over 31 people. Currently, the party is seeking to form a coalition by talking to some smaller parties who had been allies of the PTI.
There was, however, optimism from the PTI in response to the Modi talks where they highlighted talks took place regarding a new era in co-operation and bilateral strategies. However, no mentions of the Kashmir issue have been made so far. There was, however, talks of developing the South Asia regions by combatting terror and violence.
Modi’s phone call to Khan came two days after the results were officially released in contrast to the congratulatory message Manmohan Singh had extended to Nawaz Sharif when the latter won the elections in 2013.
While the initial optimism is a welcome step from the point of view of Indian critics, the role of the military in Pakistan continues to be an issue of deep concern. This is especially heightened after the multiple rumours of Khan and his party, allegedly, receiving the support of the military during election campaigning. Hence what the Khan administration proves to be for geopolitical relations in the region is yet to be defined and discovered.
*Rayan Bhattacharya is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti