(Islamabad) The Prime Minister of Pakistan, whose relations have largely cooled with India under the first two mandates of Narendra Modi, congratulated the Hindu nationalist prime minister in a short tweet on Monday the day after his swearing in.

“Congratulations to Narendra Modi on being sworn in as Prime Minister of India,” wrote Shehbaz Sharif.  

This tweet is the first comment from a senior Pakistani official since the announcement almost a week ago of the narrow victory of the alliance led by the outgoing head of government.

Mr Modi responded to the tweet, thanking him for his “good wishes”.

Born from the partition of British India in 1947, India and Pakistan have gone to war twice over Kashmir, a mountainous region divided between the two neighbors, who each claim its entirety.

In 2019, Narendra Modi removed the limited autonomy enjoyed by Indian Kashmir. The initiative, welcomed in India, pushed Pakistan to suspend bilateral trade and led to a deterioration of diplomatic relations with New Delhi.

The two rival countries regularly accuse each other of spying and supporting rebels in each other’s territory.

In 2014, Nawaz Sharif, brother of Shehbaz Sharif and then Pakistani prime minister, attended Mr. Modi’s first swearing-in. This time, Pakistan was not represented.

Nawaz Sharif, who is believed to continue to play an important role behind the scenes according to experts, for his part called on X to “replace hatred with hope”.

“The success of your party in the elections reflects the confidence that the people have in you,” he wrote to Mr. Modi.

Shehbaz Sharif has suggested he wants to improve relations with India but experts say Pakistan, which is one-sixth the size of India, has little scope for action.

If senior Pakistani officials have not commented on the Indian election, the local press has made headlines and editorials about it.

“With his election campaign focused on anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan rhetoric, (Modi) clearly announced that under his mandate, Muslims would be politically weakened, impoverished and deprived of their rights,” a commentator recently accused in the daily of reference in English Dawn. While pleading despite everything to regain language.