Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Tuesday said his country wanted to “find a solution to the issue of years-old cross-border terrorism” with Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in on Sunday for a record-equalling third term at a grand ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president’s palace in New Delhi, attended by leaders of seven regional countries, underlining the government’s “neighbourhood first” policy.

But relations and problems with China and Pakistan were different, Jaishankar told reporters, after assuming charge for a second straight term.

“With Pakistan, we would want to find a solution to the issue of years-old cross-border terrorism. That cannot be the policy of a good neighbour,” Jaishankar said.

On Monday, leaders of the two countries engaged in diplomacy via X.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as well as his elder brother and former prime minister Nawaz congratulated Modi, in what was Pakistan’s first response to the election results from across the border.

The exchange was initiated by PM Shehbaz, who extended a succinct congratulatory message on X, saying: “Felicitations to @narendramodi on taking oath as the Prime Minister of India.”

His brief message was reminiscent of a similar note that PM Modi had sent to him in March. PM Modi responded with a simple acknowledgement: “Thank you @cmshehbaz for your good wishes.”

The exchange between the leaders expanded with a more detailed message from Nawaz Sharif, who heads the ruling PML-N and had also attended PM Modi’s first inauguration in 2014.

In response to Nawaz’s desire for collective peace in South Asia, Modi reiterated India’s commitment to peace but linked it to a strong stance on security, especially in the context of Delhi’s allegations of cross-border terrorism.

In a notable diplomatic snub, PM Shehbaz was conspicuously absent from the list of regional leaders invited to attend Modi’s oath-taking ceremony on Sunday, highlighting the lingering chill in relations between the two countries.

On ties with China, Jaishankar said India will focus on finding solutions to the border issues with China that have long strained ties between the neighbouring countries.

“With regards to China there are still some issues at the border and our focus will be on how to solve them,” he said.

India and China share a 3,800-kilometre border — much of it poorly demarcated — over which the nuclear-armed nations also fought a war in 1962.

They have engaged in a military standoff since July 2020 when at least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese troops were killed in the worst clashes in five decades.

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