"We welcome the December 25 visit between PM Modi and PM Sharif. Better relations between neighbors India and Pakistan will benefit the people of the entire region," said State Department spokesman John Kirby.

The spokesman was responding to a question on Modi's sudden visit to Pakistan's Lahore, where he held talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Injecting an element of drama into the see-saw Indo-Pak ties, Modi took the world by surprise by announcing in a tweet from Kabul that he will 'drop by' in Lahore to greet Sharif on his 66th birthday today.

"Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi," Modi had tweeted.

Modi, on his way back home from Kabul, made a stopover in Lahore to meet Sharif and attend a family weeding.

Officials from both sides said the trip was organised at the last minute after Modi called Sharif over phone.

The Washington Post said Modi has "pressed the reset button on the blow-hot-blow-cold relationship" between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, paving the way for official dialogue to resume next month.

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