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Hope for India-Pakistan ties after Modi election win

Progress on relations between India and Pakistan has been slow in recent years, but there is now hope that a changing of the guard in Indian politics could re-kindle dialogue between the estranged neighbours.

INDIA: Progress on relations between India and Pakistan has been slow in recent years, but there is now hope that a changing of the guard in Indian politics could re-kindle dialogue between the estranged neighbours.

But exactly how that relationship will be shaped following the election of Narendra Modi remains unclear.

With a Narendra Modi-led government now controlling Indian affairs, analysts believe the somewhat dormant Indo-Pak relationship is about to be awoken.

Mr Modi has criticised the former Indian goverment's foreign policies as weak, and he has vowed to protect his country's borders and be tough in his engagement with Pakistan.

Despite signs of a more muscular approach ahead, recent statements by the Pakistan government indicate there is room for optimism.

There is an expectation the two countries could resume dialogue, which is currently suspended.

Tariq Azeem, media coordinator for ruling the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Party, said: "We have many issues with India, and both countries being nuclear powers, I think war is no longer an option, only talks are.

"And we hope that any issues between the two countries, whether it's Kashmir, whether it's Siachin, whether it's Creek, whatever issues are outstanding, I think they can be resolved through talks. And I think once he is in his office, Mr Modi will realise that that's the only option available to both the countries."

Mr Modi will have to do business with Pakistan if he truly wishes to implement his economic agenda.

But the climate for such progress remains volatile.

Bilateral negotiations have been derailed before, notably following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Nilova Roy Chaudhary, foreign affairs expert, said: "We have made it a pre-condition that the people who perpetrated 26/11 (2008 Mumbai attacks) have got to be brought to book before there can be any real forward movement in bilateral relations. Mr Manmohan Singh did not go to Pakistan for this very reason. I do not expect Mr Modi to be very different."

Shifting course and building relations after a decade of Congress rule remains a hurdle for Mr Modi, who is expected to be unyielding in his dealings with Pakistan. Still, his biggest challenge could be to deal with radical elements wanting to encourage conflict between the two nations.

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