Positive beginning: Indian PM greets Nawaz, invites him to India

Presidents Obama and Karzai felicitate Pakistan on election, express hope to work with new govt .

Afp/Aditi Phadnis May 12, 2013
Singh said India is ready to work with the new government of Pakistan in charting a new course for relationship between the two countries. PHOTO: AFP


While the 2013 results signal a convincing victory for PML-N, the party’s chief and former two-time premier, Nawaz Sharif, indicated his desire to normalise roller-coaster ties with Pakistan’s arch-rival. “I will visit India whether India invites me or not,” he said in an interview with an Indian television channel.

Within hours, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reciprocated the gesture by breaking with protocol and issuing a statement congratulating Nawaz on an ‘emphatic’ victory in the ‘historic elections’.

In his statement, Singh said India is ready to work with the new government of Pakistan in charting a new course for relationship between the two countries. He also invited Nawaz to visit India at a mutually convenient time.

The swift felicitations and warmth displayed by Singh towards Nawaz has rarely been seen towards other newly elected leaders in Pakistan and comes at a time when hopes of reviving talks between the two countries were fading.

While the exchange of messages show significant forward movement towards restoring relations, which were marred by the 2009 Mumbai terrorist attacks, it remains to be seen whether the Indian premier will make a break from his previously stated position of not visiting Pakistan until that country addresses the issue of militancy.

With just a six-month window before India goes to polls, further progress on initial warming of relations will depend on how quickly the new government can put together a foreign policy team and address its manifesto promise of setting up a commission on the Kargil debacle and sharing the report with India.

Earlier, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid virtually congratulated Nawaz Sharif on securing victory in the elections even before all the results were declared.

“India welcomes whatever result that comes out of a democratic election. Our government has had relations with Nawaz Sharif,” Khurshid told television channels. “I hope we can continue to have good relations if he [Nawaz] comes to power,” he added.

It may be recalled that it was Nawaz Sharif and then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had jointly began the process of normalisation of India-Pakistan relations.

The Afghan front

Pakistan’s western neighbour Afghanistan too reacted to the results of the elections when President Hamid Karzai called on the incoming government to help negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan that has ravaged his country for nearly 12 years.

“We hope that the government paves the way for peace and brotherhood with Afghanistan and cooperates in fighting terrorism and sincerely rooting out terrorist sanctuaries,” said Karzai in a statement.

Equal partners

President Barack Obama congratulated Pakistan on its parliamentary elections and said Washington was ready to work ‘as equal partners’ with the government that emerges.

“My administration looks forward to continuing our cooperation with the Pakistani government that emerges from this election as equal partners in supporting a more stable, secure, and prosperous future for the people of Pakistan,” Obama said in a statement.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2013.


Indian | 11 years ago | Reply

This is what Naya Pakistan we are looking

Shaiby Koshy | 11 years ago | Reply

I hope the new government will freshly start the peace process with a new vision, and the people of both countries will find peace and prosperity , congrats to the new government,

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