ISLAMABAD (Reuters),JULY 31 2018 - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Imran Khan on Monday to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the Pakistan general election, with both men discussing regional peace.
It was their first call since Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged victorious from last week’s vote that has been marred by claims of pre-election rigging and irregularities on the day.
Relations between the nuclear-armed rivals have frayed in the last couple of years, with direct talks stalled amid diplomatic rows and military firing across the Line of Control frontier that divides the disputed region of Kashmir.
Khan, widely seen as Pakistan’s prime minister-in-waiting, is now courting independent candidates and minor parties to form a coalition government in a nation that has fought three wars with India.
In the phone call, Modi “reiterated his vision of peace and development in the entire neighbourhood”, according to a statement by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
Khan declared in his victory speech that he wanted to resolve the long-standing territorial dispute over Kashmir, saying “if India comes and takes one step toward us, we will take two”.
Khan’s media team said he had told Modi it was vital both countries focus on pulling millions out of poverty.
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