ISLAMABAD: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called on Pakistan to build an environment of trust for better ties.
“As a neighbouring country, India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan. For this, an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is imperative,” Mr Modi said in a message to Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion of Pakistan Day.
He also wished Pakistan well in dealing with the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic.
The Indian prime minister had on Saturday sent good wishes to Prime Minister Khan after he tested positive for novel coronavirus.
Despite PM Modi sticking to the terror-free environment mantra, the messages by themselves point to lessening of tensions between the two countries.
Says India desires cordial relations with people of Pakistan
Pakistan and India last month agreed to resumption of the ceasefire along the Line of Control, besides concurring on the need for discussing issues of concern to the two countries. Later, PM Khan and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in their public statements also made conciliatory gestures towards India.
The two countries, moreover, participated in a meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) on Tuesday after a break of nearly three years because of tense ties.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Modi were among the world leaders who greeted President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on the national day. The leaders in their messages wished the country a peaceful and prosperous future and emphasised closer and stronger ties.
Some of the key world leaders who sent messages on this occasion included US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani, Emir of Qatar
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Sultan of Oman Haitham Bin Tarik, Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina Wajed, Belgian King Philippe and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
President Biden in his message to President Alvi said regional peace was the basis of Pak-US ties. He listed the priority areas in which his government intended to engage with Pakistan. These included peace in Afghanistan, Covid-19 and climate change.
President Putin also greeted President Alvi and PM Khan. Russian foreign ministry on this occasion said: Pakistan is respected on the global stage as an independent state playing a significant role in regional and international issues.
President Xi Jinping in his message said Beijing was keen to expand bilateral cooperation to build a closer community of shared future in the new era.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman wished the government and people of Pakistan steady progress and prosperity.
President Rouhani expressed the hope that ties between Iran and Pakistan would further improve in years ahead and that both countries would utilise their capacities for this purpose.
Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2021