Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday again raised the Kashmir issue while thanking his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for his congratulatory message.
Sharif tweeted Modi’s message to say that Pakistan desires peaceful and cooperative ties with India and that peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes, including J&K, is “indispensable”. While Modi had said that India desires peace and stability in a region free of terror, Sharif said Pakistan’s “sacrifices” in fighting terrorism are well-known. “Let’s secure peace and focus on socio-economic development of our people,” added Sharif in his message.
This is the second time in two days, since he was elected PM on Monday, that Sharif raised the Kashmir issue.
While some in India believe Sharif – the brother of former PM Nawaz Sharif, who developed a good rapport with Modi – will be less hawkish than his predecessor Imran Khan in recent times on relations with India, Indian government sources warn against prejudging Pakistan’s India policy under him. They said not much should be read into Modi’s message as the PM had also lost no time in congratulating Khan in 2018.
Modi had on Monday congratulated Sharif on his election as the PM and said India desires peace and stability in a region free of terror so that “we can focus on our development challenges and ensure the well-being and prosperity of our people”. In his inaugural speech, Sharif had raised the issue of nullification of Article 370 in Kashmir.