Eleven days after he received a missive from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, new Indian premier Narendra Modi sent a reply across the border, thanking the PM for his recent visit to India.
Modi writes to ‘dear Mian Sahib’ that his participation at his swearing-in ceremony ‘added a special sheen to the event’ and demonstrated ‘the strength of democracy in our region’. The Indian prime minister also offers his condolences for the attack on Jinnah International Airport last Sunday, describing it as ‘senseless and barbaric’.
In a warmly worded letter, Modi speaks of “a relationship between India and Pakistan defined by peace, friendship and cooperation” that would “unleash enormous opportunities for our youth, secure a more prosperous future for our people and accelerate progress across our region”.
While Prime Minister Sharif has been criticised on his home turf for failing to bring up certain issues, such as the Kashmir conflict, during his talks with the Indian PM, Modi writes that he was ‘encouraged’ by his talks with his Pakistani counterpart and their ‘convergence on views’.
“I look forward to working closely with you and your government in an atmosphere free from confrontation and violence in order to chart a new course in our bilateral relations,” Modi writes in his letter.
The letter concludes with a word of thanks for the sari PM Sharif sent for Modi’s mother, saying the gesture is ‘deeply appreciated’.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2014.