The Pakistani and Indian prime ministers have embarked on the path of letter diplomacy — a move that brings hope for a possible thaw in the strained ties.
Both leaders have expressed their desire for “constructive engagements” between the nuclear-armed states.
The relationship between the two countries has remained tense for years, particularly after Delhi’s move to unilaterally alter the status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in 2019.
However, with the change of government in Pakistan, there is a renewed hope for a possible rapprochement after Indian PM Narendra Modi congratulated Shehbaz Sharif over his election as his Pakistani counterpart.
Modi followed his congratulatory tweet with a letter to Shehbaz on April 12.
Officials familiar with the development said the letter was in line with the congratulatory tweet, wherein Modi expressed his desire to work for improving ties in a “terror-free” environment.
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In the letter, PM Modi called for “constructive engagements” with Islamabad to deal with common challenges.
PM Shehbaz wrote back to Modi and voiced similar sentiments as the Indian premier. However, he reminded India that Pakistan’s sacrifices against terrorism were well acknowledged by the international community.
“I wish to convey that Pakistan is committed to the maintenance of regional security peace,” Shehbaz wrote in the letter.
“Our contributions and sacrifices in fighting and eliminating terrorism are globally acknowledged,” he wrote while responding to PM Modi’s reference to the issue of terrorism.
Sharif acknowledged that cooperative and peaceful ties between India and Pakistan were imperative for the socio-economic progress and uplift of the people of the two states as well as for the region.
“Our dream can be best achieved through engagement and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes,” he added.
“Let’s secure peace and start working for the progress and prosperity of our people.”
It is pertinent to state that Modi had also exchanged similar greetings with ex-premier Imran Khan when he was named as prime minister in August 2018 but subsequent developments had dashed any hopes for a breakthrough in ties.