- PM spoke with leaders of Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal
- Pakistan didn't figure in PM Modi's New Year call list on Wednesday
- PM shared "vision of shared peace, security, prosperity and progress"
Pakistan did not figure in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's New Year call list as he dialled the leaders of the neighbouring countries and highlighted India's commitment to the "Neighbourhood First" policy. In his conversation with the leaders of Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal, PM Modi focused on the "vision of shared peace, security, prosperity and progress for all of India's friends and partners in the region", the government said in a statement.
Less than a year ago, on February 14, a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed killed 40 paramilitary soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama. Days later, the Air Force carried out the strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot, to which Pakistan retaliated, but failed to harm any Indian installations.
In the months that followed, Pakistan alternated between calls for resumption of dialogue and raising Kashmir in every international forum, including the United Nations General Assembly. India reiterated its stance that talks and terror cannot go hand in hand.
India also briefed other nations regrading the scrapping of Article 370 - which was the other big grouse of Pakistan. The matter, New Delhi said, was internal and the step was taken to give the people of Jammu and Kashmir the rights and facilities enjoyed by the rest of the country.
Yesterday, General MM Naravane, the new Army chief, took a tough line on Pakistan and the terror it sponsors, saying in such situations, "We reserve the right to pre-emptively strike at sources of terror".
This is PM Modi's first New Year after he won a second term with a massive victory in the national election held in April-May last year.
The government said in his conversation with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister agreed to further enhance ties this year. He also congratulated his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on her re-election as the chief of the Awami League for three years.