Narendra Modi to visit Pakistan for SAARC summit next year
GN Bureau | July 10, 2015
It was a cold and chilly morning in Ufa, Russia. And, India and Pakistan took a baby step in thawing the bilateral relations. Prime minister Narendra Modi while raising the issue of terror, agreed to attend SAARC summit to be held next year in Pakistan, during his meeting with Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Friday morning in Ufa, Russia.
A big take away from the meeting is resumption of talks at the NSA-level and it will be held in New Delhi.
Modi also expressed concern over the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
A very short joint statement was issued after the meeting. The statement says that both leaders have condemned terror and are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues between the two countries. The two countries also decided to expedite the trials relating to Mumbai terror attack.
In the first structured meeting since May 2014, Modi and Sharif held bilateral talks and the meeting beyond he scheduled time fixed for the talks. It came ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Ufa, Russia.
The talks have just a day after a fresh round of firing between both countries across the Line of Control. A BSF jawan was killed when Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian pickets in Nowgam sector of north Kashmir.
Modi and Sharif had met in November last year during the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, but they did not hold any bilateral meeting.
The two had held a bilateral meeting on May 26 last year during the swearing-in of Modi. The two had exchanged gifts, the sari-shawl diplomacy, and tweets, which had given rise to hope of improvement in ties between the two rivals, both nuclear powers.
But continuing firings on the border, which claimed the lives of security personnel, and the Pakistani envoy hobnobbing with Kashmiri separatists last August saw India calling off foreign secretary-level talks at the last moment.
Ties saw a downswing after that, and Pakistan's raising the Kashmir issue at international forums did not help matters.
The release of 26/11 mastermind Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi, despite India voicing concerns, also added to India's concerns.
Decisions taken at the meeting:
1) A meeting of national security advisors of both the countries in New Delhi on all issues connected to terror.
2) Meeting of DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers.
3) Release of fishermen and boats in 15 days.
4) A mechanism to facilitate religious tourism.
5) To expedite the Mumbai attacks trial.
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