Friday, 6th March 2015

Pak PM Nawaz Sharif heads to India for Modi's inauguration

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Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for New Delhi on Monday on a two-day visit to represent the country in the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister-designate, Narendra Modi, officials said.The oath-taking ceremony of the new Indian Prime Minister is scheduled to be held in New Delhi Monday evening.

The prime minister will also hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi on May 27 and President Pranab Mukherjee, the Foreign Ministry said.Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary accompanied the prime minister.

Narendra Modi, whose hardliner "Baharatiya Janata Party" or BJP won overwhelmingly in the recent Indian parliamentary elections, had invited leaders from the neighboring countries, including Sharif, to his inauguration. The event will provide an opportunity to the two sides to devise a strategy to normalize their relations and ensure peace in the region, officials said.

As a goodwill gesture, Pakistan has released 151 Indian fishermen who will be handed over to the Indian authorities later on Monday. Modi welcomed release of Indian prisoners by Pakistan in a message on his official Tweeter page on Sunday.

The decision of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit India was largely welcomed in Pakistan and members of all segment of society hoped that the visit will could pave the way for resumption of bilateral dialogue process.

The invitation to Sharif surprised many and attracted world attention in view of the tense relationship between the two countries that possess nuclear weapons.Since Modi was known for his tough stance against Pakistan as leader of the BJP when the party was in opposition, some quarters in Pakistan had been concerned about the future relationship between the two countries under his rule.

However, Modi's invitation to Sharif to represent Pakistan in his oath-taking ceremony and the latter's acceptance have now raised hopes for improvement in relations. ISLAMABAD, May 26, Xinhua



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