A New Over in India, Pakistan Diplomatic T20: Modi Bowls and Khan Bats, Well

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Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi wrote to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on its western neighbor’s National Day (March 23). Khan responded a week later (March 29) to its eastern neighbor’s Premier —in bold Times New Roman font (non-traditional) and right aligning the date in the usual traditional format as compared to non-traditional center aligned date done by PM Modi.

Both premiers addressed one another as “Excellency” –Khan did it in bold.

Modi’s content was formatted in 4 paragraphs. Khan responded in six (6) paragraphs. He asked for “enabling environment” to settle disputes.

#PMIK clean bowls #Modiji!, according to Pakistani security analyst Syed Muhammad Ali.

Khan’s take dovetails Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Bajwa’s most recent articulation for “peace within and peace in the region” –PM Khan’s and the General’s are akin to an invite for peace pipe smoking and breaking the bread.

The “intellectual” General had floated the doctrine of “enduring stability in the region” last year, a huge broad stroke some observers had considered then, for a tense region.

Both neighbors are talking, according to background discussions, and if the downtick in social media cacophony of both sides trolls is an indicator, things may be happening –notwithstanding “there’s many a sip between the cup and the lip.”

On people-to-people canvas, I’m being shared memes and oldies by both sides on my WhatsApp account. So the crowd is ready to applause.

Got this videoclip from an Indian friend. He called it Michael Quackson It’s a great meme of Michael Jackson’s:

I consider this the new normal. Last year was a dampener.

“Any peace initiative between the two countries is welcome. In the last few years the warmongering was in full sway. Peace will benefit both nations,” commented Zafar, an Indian expat in Riyadh.

Islamabad-based Pakistani security analyst Majid says PM Khan’s letter can be seen in the context of recent peace overtures aiming to melt the ice between the two arch rivals.

“Although the wording is a tit-for-tat for what Modi insinuated in his letter, but still, it is significant that both antagonists have started to talk after a long pause”, he says.

Khan wrapped up his position with the need for constructive and result-oriented dialogue to settle all disputes, in particular the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. PM Modi’s letter had not mentioned the Kashmir dispute. It mentioned “terrorism” –in my opinion, it’s a what’s that, a cliche now. The COVID-19 has been terrorizing us.

Irshad Salim, Islamabad

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