Let's open a new page in India-Pakistan ties: Sharif tells Modi

Calling his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a historic moment, Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that his government stands ready to discuss with New Delhi all issues in a spirit of cooperation. He also said that this is the time to open ‘a new page’ in the bilateral relationship between India and Pakistan.

“I had constructive meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Accusation and counter accusation will not be productive for both the nations. India and Pakistan have common agenda of peace and economic stability,” Sharif said before flying back to Islamabad.

“For peace and security, we should bring stability instead of insecurity,” Sharif, who was here to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, said.

“Legacy of mistrust, misgiving have to be left behind,” Sharif added.

Sharif told Modi that he desired to take forward the peace process that he had initiated with former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999.

"I intend to pick up the threads of the Lahore peace declaration,” Sharif said.

The Pakistani Prime Minister said his own election and Modi's electoral victory - both ‘with a clear mandate’ - should be seen a historic opportunity for both the neighbouring countries.

“This provides us the opportunity of meeting the hopes and aspirations of our people. I hope to succeed and turn a new page in our relationship,” Sharif said.

"I stressed that we have a common agenda of economic revival which is not possible to achieve without peace. After all we owe it to our people ... to rid the region of instability and insecurity that has plagued us for decades,” Sharif added.

"Modi warmly reciprocated my sentiments," Sharif, who was here to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, said.

Sharif also said that the two Foreign Secretaries would meet soon to finalize the bilateral agenda in the spirit of today's meeting.

Sharif concluded that he also had ‘warm and friendly exchanges’ with President Pranab Mukherjee after meeting Modi.

MODI MEETS SAARC LEADERS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met the SAARC leaders including his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the Hyderabad House here, expressed concern over terrorism and said Islamabad must abide by its commitment to control terrorism emanating from its soil against India.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told the media here that the Prime Minister also demanded expediting of the 26/11 cases in Pakistan and asked Sharif to ensure convictions.

Sujatha Singh, who was addressing the media along with MEA official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, further said the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries will remain in touch and explore how to move forward.

“We want peaceful relations with Pakistan. But for that terror and violence should end,” she replied when asked whether India has forgotten the bitterness of the past.

Modi also accepted invitation of all SAARC leaders including Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit their countries, she added.

“All SAARC leaders invited the Prime Minister. The dates have to be worked out,” Sujatha Singh said.

Modi and Rajapaksa during their meeting agreed that talks between fishermen of the two sides should be encouraged.

She said that the Prime Minister urged Rajapaksa to expedite process of reconciliation which meets the aspirations of the Tamil population.

The Prime Minister asked the visiting Sri Lankan President to implement the 13th amendment for the development of Tamils.

The Prime Minister during his meeting with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai discussed the attack that took place on the Indian Consulate in Heart last week.
“Prime Minister Modi thanked the Afghanistan President for the co operation of Afghan forces in repelling the attack in Heart,” she said.

MODI-SHARIF MEETING

In the first ever bilateral meeting with Sharif, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of 26/11 terror attacks and said that no satisfactory development on it has taken yet. According to sources, Modi raised the issue of slow pace of trial in 26/11 terror case which was being held in Pakistan and as also India's core concern of terror with the visiting Pakistani leader.

The two leaders also talked about ways to enhance cooperation in the field of trade during the meeting which was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh among others, they said. The two leaders had a firm handshake and posed for photographers before heading towards the meeting room for talks at the ceremonial Hyderabad House.

According to sources, Modi raised the issue of slow pace of trial in 26/11 terror case which was being held in Pakistan and as also India's core concern of terror with the visiting Pakistani leader.

Earlier, Modi received Sharif at the Hyderabad House with warmth, clasping his hands for a few moments as both leaders posed for photographs.

They also talked about ways to enhance cooperation in the field of trade during the meeting which was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh among others.

On Monday, Sharif had said that he was carrying a message of peace and intends to pick up the threads with India's new leader Narendra Modi from where he and then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee left off in 1999.

Modi also met heads of SAARC nation including Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Mauritius Navin Ramgoolam and Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala at the Hyderabad House.

Sharif and other leaders of SAARC nations as well as Mauritius attended Modi's swearing in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday evening.

Narendra Modi's Day 1 in Office

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds first Cabinet meet at South Block

• After holding bilateral meetings with SAARC leaders, Modi visited outgoing prime minister Manmohan Singh at the latter’s retirement home at 3, Motilal Nehru Marg

• Mansukhbhai Vasava to be new MoS Tribal Affairs

• Rao Saab Danve gets MoS Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution

• Nihalchand is new MoS for Chemicals and Fertilizer

• Vishnu Dev Sai to be new MoS Mines, Steel, Labour and Employment

• Sudarshan Bhagat (MoS Social Justice and Empowerment)

• Saneev Kumar Balyan (MoS Agriculture, Food Processing Industry)

• P Radhakrishnan to be MoS Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises

• Kiran Rijiju gets MoS Home

• Krishna Pal Gujjar (MoS Road Transport and Highways, Shipping).

• G M Sidheswara to be new MoS Civil Aviation

• Manoj Sinha is MoS Railways

• Upendra Khushwaha is MoS Rural Development Panchyati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation

• Nirmala Sitharaman to be Commerce and Industry Minister with Independent charge. She will also be MoS Corporate Affairs

• Jitendra Singh to be MoS in Prime Minister's Office. He will also hold Science and Technology and Earth Sciences charge

• Piyush Goyal to be Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy Minister with Independent charge

• Prakash Javadekar to hold Information and Broadcasting and Environment, Forests, Climate Change (Independent charge). He will also be MoS Parliamentary Affairs

• Sarbanada Sonawal gets Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Sports ministries with Independent Charge

• Dharmendra Pradhan to be MoS Petroleum and Natural Gas with Independent charge

• Shripad Yesso Naik gets Independent charge of Culture and Tourism

• Santosh Gangwar gets MoS Independent charge of Textiles. He is also junior minister Parliamentary Affairs, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation

• Inderjit Singh Rao gets Planning and Statistics and Programme Implementation with Independent charge. He is also MoS Defence

• Gen (R) VK Singh gets Independent charge of Development of Northeast Region. He is also MoS External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs

• Radha Mohan Singh gets Agriculture. Thawar Chand Gehlot to be new Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment

• Jual Oram to be new Minister for Tribal Affairs

• Harsh Vardhan gets Health, Smriti Irani to be new Minister for HRD

• Harsimrat Kaur Badal gets Food Processing

• Narendra Singh Tomar to be new Minister for Mines and Steel. He also gets Labour and Employment

• Anant Geete gets Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

• Ravi Shankar Prasad to be the new Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Law and Justice

• Uma Bharti to be new Minister for Water Resources

• Ashok Gajapati Raju to be the new Minister for Civil Aviation

• Anant Geete gets Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises

• Najma Heptulla to be new Minister for Minority Affairs

• Ananth Kumar gets Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry

• Jaitley also gets Corporate Affairs

• Kalraj Mishra to be the Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

• Maneka Gandhi gets Woman and Child Development Ministry

• Nitin Gadkari gets Transport, Highways and Shipping portfolios

• DV Sadanand Gowda to be the new Railway Minister

• Gopinath Munde to hold Rural Development and Panchayati Raj portfolios

• Ram Vilas Paswan gets Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution Ministries

• M Venkaiah Naidu to be the new Minister for Urban Development, Housing, Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs

• Sushma Swaraj gets External Affairs and Overseas portfolios

• Rajnath Singh to be the new Union Home Minister

• Arun Jaitley gets Finance and Defence Ministries

Modi assumed office on Tuesday, a day after being sworn-in by President Pranab Mukherjee. Modi was received at South Block office of the Prime Minister’s Office by newly appointed Principal Secretary Nripendra Mishra and some other senior officials.

However, even before assuming charge, Modi had begun his official work last night itself by holding a meeting with top officials.

Though Modi will be meeting all leaders from the SAARC countries as also the Mauritius Prime Minister, it is his meeting with Sharif that has aroused the maximum interest in the media due to the troubled relationship between the two countries over the years.

The bilateral relationship has been bedeviled by what India views as Pakistan's hesitation in taking action against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Modi was on Monday sworn-in as the 15th Prime Minister of India after the BJP stormed into power at the Centre with absolute majority.

63-year-old Modi took oath in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan before a 3000-strong gathering.

Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Uma Bharti, Maneka Gandhi, Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani and Harsh Vardhan were among those who were sworn-in as Cabinet Ministers.
       
Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP), Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Akali Dal), Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) and Ashok Gajapathi Raju (TDP) also took the oath on Monday.

(JPN/Agencies)

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