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PM Shehbaz offers brief congratulations to Modi almost a week after his re-election as India’s PM – World

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday offered a brief congratulations to his counterpart Narendra Modi on his re-election in rival India, almost a week after the results came in.

“Felicitations to Narendra 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 leaders from Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. However, China and Pakistan were not present.

PM Shehbaz’s brother and ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif attended the ceremony when Modi became the prime minister for the first time in 2014, a complete rarity in the history of the nuclear-armed nations.

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

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

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

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 a Dawn op-ed last week.

“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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