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Saturday, July 20, 2024  
13 Muharram 1446  

Modi appreciates Nawaz’s message of ‘replacing hate with hope’

Modi was sworn in on Sunday at a ceremony
A combination of file photos show Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Indian PM Narendra Modi, and former PM Nawaz Sharif. Photos via Facebook
A combination of file photos show Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Indian PM Narendra Modi, and former PM Nawaz Sharif. Photos via Facebook
A combination of file photos show Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Facebook-Mian Shehbaz Sharif/Reuters
A combination of file photos show Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Facebook-Mian Shehbaz Sharif/Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in separate social media posts on Monday thanked the Sharif brothers for their congratulatory messages to him on his re-election in rival India, almost a week after the results came in.

He thanked his Pakistani counterpart for the wishes while telling Nawaz that 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,” Modi said in reply to Nawaz’s post.

Born out of the partition of British-ruled India in 1947, the neighbours have fought two wars over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

“Felicitations to @narendramodi [Modi] on taking oath as the Prime Minister of India,” he posted on X, in the first official comments from Pakistan.

Modi was sworn in on Sunday at a ceremony attended by South Asian leaders from Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, however neighbouring rivals China and Pakistan were not present.

The neighbours currently have minimal relations and ties have worsened during a decade under Modi, who has ramped up his Hindu nationalist agenda.

“Thank you @cmshehbaz [Shehbaz] for your good wishes,” Modi said in reply to Shehbaz’s post.

Sharif’s brother and ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif attended the inauguration of Modi in 2014, a first in the history of the nuclear-armed nations.

“Your party’s success in recent elections reflects the confidence of the people in your leadership,” Nawaz Sharif posted on X, formerly Twitter. “Let us replace hate with hope.”

“Appreciate your message @NawazSharifMNS [Nawaz Sharif]. 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,” Modi replied to Pakistan’s former prime minister.

Analysts say Nawaz, the eldest Sharif brother, wields an outsized role behind the scenes of Pakistan’s premiership.

Pakistan suspended bilateral trade and downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi in 2019, after Modi revoked the limited autonomy of Indian-administered Kashmir in a move widely celebrated across India.

The arch-rivals regularly trade accusations of espionage and of stoking militancy in each other’s territory.

Pakistan’s recently elected premier has previously hinted at wanting to improve ties with India.

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But analysts say Pakistan, a sixth of the size of India, has few levers to pull.

Modi’s “election campaign pivoted around anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan rhetoric,” Zahid Hussain, an opinion writer and author, said in Dawn.

“Modi’s campaign narrative made it absolutely clear that under his dispensation, the Muslims will be politically disempowered, economically marginalised, and deprived of their constitutional rights,” he said following the vote.

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