"This is a delightful piece of news that Pakistan Prime Minister has accepted Narendra Modi's invitation...this is the beginning of a new relationship. It is good news," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said here.

He said Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar are India's neighbours.

"And neighbours cannot be changed," he added.

Reacting cautiously to the development, Congress leader and outgoing union minister Manish Tewari reminded that the BJP has all along maintained that terror and talks cannot go together.

He hoped that after assuming office, the BJP government would raise the issue of slow pace of trail of 26/11 attacks.

He also said the issue of people like Hafiz Saeed should also be raised.

"They have also periodically been raising the issue of the return of Dawood Ibrahim, who allegedly is being sheltered by the establishment in Pakistan. So, we hope that BJP remains true to the position it has taken over the past ten years and raises these issues with the Prime Minister of Pakistan when he comes to India," Tewari said.

Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed said photo opportunities are okay but Modi should not compromise national interest.

"According to BJP, terror modules and Dawood are still active in Pakistan," he said.

Omar hopes Modi-Sharif meet marks ‘new beginning’ in Indo-Pak relations

Expressing his delight over Sharif’s decision to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed hope that this important development would mark a new beginning in relations between the two neighbouring nations.

Omar said the people of Jammu and Kashmir would keep a close eye on the meeting between Sharif and Modi.

He added Sharif’s decision to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony suggests that he is strong enough to defy vicious forces in Pakistan that vociferously oppose good relations with India.

“Very glad to hear Pak PM has accepted invite, shows that he can prevail over forces inimical to good relations with India,” Omar tweeted on Saturday.

“I hope that this will mark a new beginning in ties between our two countries. The people of J&K will be watching closely,” he added.

Omar said that he feels sorry for other world leaders who would be attending Modi’s swearing-in ceremony because the picture that would matter the most at that time would be of Modi-Sharif handshake.

“Can't help feel sorry for others taking oath or attending because the only photo op that will matter now will be the Modi-Sharif handshake,” Omar said.


Sharif to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony

Nawaz Sharif will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Modi on Monday.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that New Delhi has received confirmation from Islamabad on the participation.

Sharif’s visit to India gives encouraging signals that Pakistan might be ready to begin a new chapter in improving bilateral ties between the two arch-rivals.

The delay in Sharif confirming his attendance is being attributed to opposition from hardliners in the army establishment.

Sharif took the decision to accept the Indian invitation after a series of consultations with his close aides.

Other key SAARC leaders, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom have already confirmed that they will attend the ceremony in New Delhi.

Bangladesh will be represented by Speaker Shirin Chaudhury as Premier Sheikh Hasina is travelling to Japan.

Around 3000 dignitaries across the world have been invited to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, which would take place in the sprawling forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.


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