Modi to fly to Lahore, meet Nawaz Sharif (Third Lead)

Kabul, Dec 25 (IANS) In a sudden development, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he will meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on Friday afternoon on his way back to New Delhi from Kabul.

Modi, who reached Afghanistan in the morning from Moscow, tweeted that he spoke to Sharif over telephone and greeted him on his birthday.

“Looking forward to meeting Sharif in Lahore today afternoon when I will drop by on my way back to Delhi.”

Modi will be the first Indian prime minister to visit Pakistan after Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2004.

Modi’s decision comes soon after he blamed Pakistan – although without taking its name – for terrorism in Afghanistan and for allegedly trying to harm India-Afghanistan ties. He was addressing the Afghan parliament.

Following Modi’s announcement, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted: “That’s like a statesman. Padosi se aise hi rishte hone chahiyen (Neighbourly relations should be like this).”

Modi’s Lahore visit comes after India and Pakistan decided to start a comprehensive bilateral dialogue during Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad earlier this month.

Modi and Sharif met on the sidelines of the Climate Summit in Paris on November 30.

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