As Syed Yousuf Gilani took over as Prime Minister in Islamabad, Manmohan Singh picked up the pen and the phone to greet him. He conveyed Delhi’s hopes that Gilani would build on the initiatives taken by his predecessors and they could take relations between the two countries to a new high.
The Prime Minister re-affirmed Delhi’s commitment to strengthening friendship and cooperation with Pakistan.
“We see a stable, prosperous and democratic Pakistan as being in the interest of India and the region,” Singh wrote to Gilani.
He emphasised that they had an opportunity to transform the relationship into a close, cooperative and mutually beneficial partnership that should be normal between neighbours like India and Pakistan.
“I look forward to working closely with you towards an objective that I am confident you share,” he wrote to Gilani, who heads the coalition government led by the Pakistan Peoples Party that includes former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s party PML-N.
Singh followed up his letter with a telephone call later in the evening.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that India-Pakistan relations can evolve to become the “best ever”, an official statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said, referring to Singh’s conversation with Gilani on Tuesday evening.
He also hoped that Gilani would build on the initiatives taken by his predecessors, former PMs Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Shariff and President Pervez Musharaf, to improve bilateral relations.
In his message, Singh had referred to the “strong public sentiment” in both countries towards accelerating the peace process and establishing a cooperative framework for bilateral relations.
“Leading personalities of the coalition that will form your government have been strong advocates of friendly ties between our two countries and have made important contributions to the peace process,” he said.
“I hope every much that we can build upon the progress already achieved and work expeditiously, through the dialogue process, towards agreed solutions of pending issues,” Singh said in the message.