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Modi-Sharif meeting augurs well for foreign secretary level talks

New Delhi: The Modi-Sharif meeting definitely augurs well for the foreign secretaries’ level talks scheduled in January in Islamabad.

The meeting between the two prime ministers was welcomed by politicians in both India and Pakistan, while the UN, the US, China and other countries have termed it a positive development which would have a far-reaching impact on the regional peace, The Nation reported.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said: “Pakistan and India are important countries in South Asia.”

He said the improvement in relations between the two countries was significant to regional peace, stability and development.

The US State Department said Modi’s overture towards Pakistan would “benefit the entire region”.

“We welcome the December 25 talks between PM Modi and PM Sharif in Lahore. As we have long said, improved relations among neighbours will benefit the entire region,” spokesperson John Kirby said on Saturday.

Foreign affairs adviser to Nawaz Sharif, Sartaj Aziz said that Modi’s brief stopover in Lahore was unplanned.

Aziz, special assistant on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi and National Security Adviser Lieutenant General Nasir Khan Janjua could not join Sharif in the meeting at his Jati Umra residence.

However, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif attended the meeting, Aziz said.

The news of the stopover was announced by Modi on Twitter: “Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi.”

Within minutes, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted: “That’s like a statesman. Padosi se aise hi rishte hone chahiyen (One should have such relations with neighbours).”

Pakistan’s other political parties such as Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf, Awami National Party and Qaumi Watan Party welcomed the move and hoped it would go well in normalising the relations between the two countries.

After seeing off Modi at the Lahore airport, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said Nawaz and Modi met in a cordial atmosphere, and it was agreed upon in the meeting that people-to-people contact should be enhanced and other confidence-building measures should be taken to improve the relations between the two sides.

This was the second meeting between the two prime ministers in less than a month, after their interaction on the sidelines of the climate change talks in Paris on November 30.(IANS) 

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