ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and India have started renewed efforts to resume dialogue after an ice-breaking telephonic contact between Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, officials said.

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Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation on Monday that the two sides were in talks to bring the dialogue process back on track. “India is a bit more positive now after the elections. There are efforts from both the sides to resume talks,” said one official.

The official said Pakistan was ready to hold talks with India anywhere for the sake of peace in the region.

Another official said talks at the highest level were possible outside Pakistan and India to start the proceedings. “There is nothing concrete so far but there could be talks outside Pakistan,” he added.

Over the weekend, Khan telephoned Narendra Modi and expressed the desire to work together as the two countries eye resumption of the dialogue process.

Tensions between the archrivals escalated after a suicide attack in occupied Kashmir killed at least 42 Indian soldiers. India has handed over its files on the February 14 bombing to Pakistan. Islamabad says there is no compelling evidence.

PM Khan had said Pakistan was ready to cooperate with New Delhi into the investigation of the February 14 suicide bombing, allegedly claimed Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Highest-level talks possible at neutral venue

Before PM Khan’s telephonic call to Modi, Foreign Qureshi held an informal meeting with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers moot in Bishkek last week.

“I told Sushma Swaraj that we are still firm on the statement of PM Imran Khan that if India takes one step forward, Pakistan would reciprocate with two,” Qureshi later said.

Condemning terrorism in all its forms, the foreign minister stressed the need for addressing root causes of the curse, saying Pakistan was amongst the few countries which successfully countered terrorism.

The Foreign Minister said conflict resolution is important for peace and stability in the South Asian region. He said Pakistan has given the message of peace by opening the Kartarpur Corridor for the Sikh community.

On May 26, PM Khan congratulated Modi on his Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral victory in the Indian election. “Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his desire for both countries to work together for betterment of their people,” the foreign office said.

Imran Khan reiterated his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia and expressed that he “looks forward to work with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives.”

Amid optimism, Pakistan and India are hopeful of a meeting between the PMs of the two countries in the United Kingdom in the coming weeks.

Imran Khan and the Indian PM are likely to visit London to watch world cup cricket matches in the same week of June this year and there was a strong possibility of both the leaders meeting.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will fly to London on June 12 on a three-day official visit. This would be his first visit to the UK after assuming office last year.

The United Kingdom has already conveyed to Pakistan and India that it was ready to host Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Indian counterpart for talks.