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Imran Khan, widely seen as the next prime minister of Pakistan, may invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with leaders of other SAARC nations for the oath taking ceremony likely to held on August 11. “Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is considering inviting the leaders of the SAARC countries including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for oath-taking ceremony,” news agency PTI reported.

As part of goodwill gesture, Narendra Modi had also invited the SAARC leaders including the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2014 for his oath-taking ceremony. Despite internal pressures, Nawaz Sharif came to India to attend the function. Modi had in December 2015 also made a stopover in Lahore to greet his counterpart on his birthday.

Imran Khan’s party PTI has emerged as the single-largest party in the recent elections. Former cricket captain Khan yesterday said that he would take oath as prime minister on August 11.

A leader of Khan’s party termed Modi’s telephone call to Khan a welcoming sign to begin a new chapter in relations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Imran Khan yesterday to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the Pakistan general election. In his first call since Khan’s PTI emerged victorious in last week’s elections, Modi “reiterated his vision of peace and development in the entire neighbourhood”, according to a statement by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

Khan, in his victory speech, had indicated that he wants to resolve the long-standing territorial dispute over Kashmir, saying “If India’s leadership is ready, we are ready to improve ties with India. If India comes and takes one step towards us, we will take two”.

The India-Pakistan ties are on all-time low as there have been no bilateral talks in recent times and continuous exchange of fire across the Line of Control.

The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks in 2016 and India’s surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The sentencing of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to death by a military court in April last year further deteriorated bilateral ties

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By Alwin Santhosh


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