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Imran Khan hopes to resolve ties with India, may invite PM Modi

Pakistan’s Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan is hoping to resolve issues with India during his five-year term, his aides said. A close aide told this newspaper that Mr Khan was not against India, but “Indian policies.”

“As the PM he wants to talk to the Indian counterpart and try to resolve the issues. He believes the bilateral issues can be resolved in his five-year term,” the aide, a senior leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), said. Another PTI leader said Mr Khan may invite Indian PM Narendra Modi to his inauguration. “This proposal is under consideration,” he added.

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi, spoke to Mr Khan over the telephone and congratulated him on the PTI victory in the July 25 elections.

A PTI statement said: “The most significant aspect of the conversation was Modi’s unambiguous willingness to improve his country’s ties with Pakistan. India desires progressive relations with Pakistan.”

Both countries, Mr Modi was quoted as saying, should evolve a joint strategy to develop and strengthen better ties.

In response, Imran Khan said that both neighbours should move towards conflict resolution through dialogue.

“Wars can breed tragedies instead of facilitating resolution of conflicts,” Mr Khan was quoted as telling the Indian Prime Minister.

Appreciating Mr Modi’s positive gesture, Mr Khan said that both countries should invest in poverty reduction, pulling millions out of the poverty trap.

The telephonic conversation immediately spar-ked a debate on social media with some reminding the incoming PM of how he used to mock the jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his ‘friendship’ with Mr Modi. Over the past few years, ties between Pakistan and India remained tense despite Mr Modi’s overtures in May 2014. There were occasions when two sides were close to the resumption of a fully-fledged dialogue.

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