Pakistan ‘s congratulatory messages to PM Modi and responses can break the ice

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 11, 2024 IST

Pakistan

Arun Joshi

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was late by several days to congratulate Narendra Modi who equaled Jawaharlal Nehru’s record of becoming India’s Prime Minister for the third consecutive term. This had raised many eyebrows across South Asian where all leaders had greeted Modi with congratulatory messages and watched very closely the world leaders - President Biden of the US, Russian president Vladimir Putin and almost all European countries- hailing Indian Prime Minister for his historic feat. Pakistan remained an exception till Monday- June 10.

It was in the early afternoon on Monday-June 10 when Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif posted on his X handle the congratulatory message for Modi. He wrote on X “Felicitations to @narendramodi on taking oath as the Prime Minister of India.”  On the first reading, the message was quite bland. It seemed that some blanks had deliberately been left blank, leaving for others to fill.

 Some read it as a tit for tat message as Indian Prime Minster had greeted Shehbaz Sharif with a 15-letter word “Congratulations” when the latter become PM of Pakistan in March this year. This is manifestation of the frosty relations between the two countries and the thaw is not expected in the near future given the mutual distrust that characterizes relations between Delhi and Islamabad.

Immediately after Shehbaz Sharif’s message, responded with “Thanks” by Indian Prime Minister, came a profound message from Pakistan. This time it was Nawaz Sharif, the supreme leader of ruling Pakistan Muslim League – N, and elder brother of Pakistan PM. His message was a demonstratively a big offer of handshake to Indian PM.

 Nawaz Sharif said what his younger brother didn’t. His congratulatory message was profound and reminded the Indian and Pakistani leadership to move on from the frozen patches of the history where they stood at the moment.  He wrote a statesman like message on X. He congratulated PM Modi and backed it by a substantial vision for peace and prosperity between the two countries. He wrote:” My warm felicitations to Modi ji (@narendramodi) on assuming office for the third time. Your party’s success in recent elections reflects the confidence of the people in your leadership,” and thereafter he went on to pin hopes on PM Modi. This message can be read in his words: Let us replace hate with hope and seize the opportunity to shape the destiny of the two billion people of South Asia.”

Prime Minister Modi replied in the same spirit to Nawaz with whom he had established good relations during his first term that commenced in May 2014. Nawaz was among the South Asian countries invited for the oath-taking ceremony. Thereafter a period of some sort of bonhomie followed between India and Pakistan, though briefly as it collapsed after the terror attack at Indian Air Force base in Pathankot , Punjab in January 2015 , literally a week after Modi had visited Lahore in an unscheduled visit and met Nawaz to further ties between the two countries . The things deteriorated after the 2016 attack on Uri camp in Uri in north Kashmir , in which 20 soldiers were killed . India had launched a surgical strike to punish perpetrators of the crime across the Line of Control , and after Pulwama attack , traced to Pakistan , aerial strikes were launched in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan . And when India removed Article 370 , Pakistan launched a diplomatic offensive against India . The things were frozen to the extent that there has been no move to reach out or respond to Pakistan’s requests for resumption of dialogue and opening of trade.

Nawaz has attempted to close the gap . And Modi’s reply to Nawaz is extraordinary and shows that windows can be opened between the two neighbouring countries. He replied :  “The people of India have always stood for peace, security and progressive ideas. Advancing the well-being and security of our people shall always remain our priority.”

These words coming from Modi are  most significant in the recent years vis-à-vis Pakistan. PM’s message underlined the desire of the Indian people for peace and security and progressive ideas, which when translated into India- Pakistan context put onus on Pakistan to share this idea of peace, as India has been at the receiving end of Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and beyond for the past over three decades. While J&K has suffered almost daily violence from 1990 till 2019 before the Article 370 was removed, Pakistan’s hand in Mumbai blasts in 1993 and 26/11 in 2008, Delhi blasts in 2005 and so on have shown that how the neighbouring country is causing harm to India,  and earned for itself a status of epicentre of terrorism. Modi has underlined that peace is not a one-way ticket. It has to be a two-track initiative. And at the same time Modi assured Nawaz senior that advancing the well-being and security of our people shall always remain our priority – that means that this is possible only when Pakistan shares this idea with all sincerity.

Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.

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