Pakistan’s prime minister pleased with ‘meaningful’ first meeting with Modi

Nawaz Sharif writes to India's premier to expresses his gratitude for his generosity during a visit to New Delhi last month and says he looks forward to resolving all "unsettled matters".
NEW DELHI // Pakistan’s prime minister has written to Narendra Modi to express satisfaction with their “meaningful” first meeting as the rivals attempt better relations.

Nawaz Sharif held talks with Mr Modi in New Delhi last month after attending the inauguration of the Hindu nationalist Indian premier who swept to power in a landslide election victory.

Mr Modi’s invitation to Mr Sharif was a surprise move seen as a significant olive branch to India’s Muslim neighbour.

In the letter, Mr Sharif expressed his gratitude to Mr Modi for his generosity during the visit and said he looked forward to resolving all “unsettled matters”, an official from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi said.

“I look forward to working with you in harmony on all unsettled matters for the benefit of both nations,” Mr Sharif said.

“I must say that I have returned much satisfied with our meaningful exchange of thoughts on matters of bilateral and regional interest.”

The letter was sent last week to India’s foreign ministry through the Pakistan high commission, and published in India media on Wednesday.

Bilateral ties broke down after attacks by Pakistani gunmen on Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.

An unresolved territorial dispute over Kashmir in the Himalayan region is also a source of continuing tension.

Mr Modi has surprised some commentators by reaching out to Pakistan and China, whose foreign minister travelled to Delhi this week.

“It is the millions living in poverty in both countries who deserve our foremost attention,” Mr Sharif said.

“I firmly believe that in our concerted efforts lies the welfare and prosperity of our two nations.

“It is my earnest hope that our endeavours will lay the foundation of a much brighter future.”

The countries have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.

Their last war was in 1999 when Mr Modi’s party was last in office at the national level and Mr Sharif was in power during a previous stint as premier.

The two are expected to meet again in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

* Agence France-Presse

Published: June 11, 2014 04:00 AM

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