Islamabad: Pakistan’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday thanked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for felicitating him and said his country desires “peaceful and cooperative” ties with India.
Sharif, however, emphasised that peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes including Jammu and Kashmir is indispensable.
“Pakistan desires peaceful & cooperative ties with India. Peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes including Jammu & Kashmir is indispensable. Pakistan’s sacrifices in fighting terrorism are well-known. Let’s secure peace and focus on socio-economic development of our people,” Sharif tweeted while replying to Modi’s congratulatory message.
Prime Minister Modi on Monday congratulated 70-year-old Sharif on his election as the Prime Minister of Pakistan 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 on Monday, Sharif had raised the issue of abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and alleged that the people in the Valley were bleeding and Pakistan will provide them with “diplomatic and moral support” besides raising the matter at every international fora.
Sharif, who replaced Imran Khan after a high voltage political tussle, said he wanted good relations with India, but it cannot be achieved without the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
Sharif, the younger brother of former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was sworn-in as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan on Monday.
Ties between India and Pakistan deteriorated after India announced withdrawing the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August 2019.
India’s move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 outraged Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.
India has said that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility, and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.