Day after slamming India, Sharif calls up Modi for quake comfort

  • HT Corrrespondent & Agencies, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 30, 2015 12:43 IST

A day after accusing India of not doing enough to improve bilateral ties, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express condolence over the deaths in India due to the quake and appreciated India's rescue operations in Nepal.

In rare rebuke of a neighbour with which he promised to mend ties, Sharif said on Wednesday India had failed to respond to Pakistan's desire for good relations.

"Got a call from PM Nawaz Sharif. He expressed condolences on the loss of lives in various parts of India due to the earthquake," Modi said in a tweet after Sharif's phone call on Thursday.

Modi added that Sharif appreciated India's efforts in the rescue operations in Nepal.

"I thank him for his kind words," Modi said.

Modi said that he suggested to Sharif that "SAARC nations should conduct regular joint exercises on disaster relief and rescue".

"SAARC nations can come together and hold annual exercises of rescue teams, doctors etc on how we can minimise damage during natural disasters," he added.

Sharif appreciated the idea and "told me that we should take up such an initiative". The two leaders also discussed unseasonal rain and its adverse impact on crops.

Nepal was hit by a massive earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale on April 25, killing over 5,000 people. The toll due to the earthquake in India has gone up to 78, while the number of injured people stands at 560, the government said on Wednesday.

"Our desire for good neighbourly relations with India has not been reciprocated," Sharif told the Saudi Gazette in an interview during a recent visit that was published in Pakistani newspapers on Wednesday.

In the interview, Sharif said his acceptance of an invitation last May to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's inauguration was "an exceptional decision".

But months later, India withdrew from talks after Pakistan's ambassador in India met Indian Kashmiri separatist politicians.

Sharif said that was a "frivolous pretext".

"There is no sign of India desiring resumption of dialogue with us," he said.

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