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India’s Modi says will meet Pakistan PM in Lahore Friday

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Narendra ModiIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he would meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on Friday in what would be the first visit to Pakistan by an Indian premier in more than 10 years.

“Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” Modi said on Twitter.

The Indian prime minister made the surprise announcement as he wound up his visit to Afghanistan with an address to the Afghan parliament.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed the meeting between the two leaders. “That’s like a statesman,” Swaraj said on Twitter. “One should have such relations with the neighbours,” she added.

Modi and Sharif have had a stop-start diplomatic relationship since the Indian premier’s surprise invite to Sharif for his inauguration last May.

Both countries’ governments have frequently disputed each other’s claims on contentious issues such as terrorism, the disputed territory of Kashmir and the pace of the trial in the Mumbai terror attacks case.

Earlier Friday, in his speech to the Afghan parliament, Modi urged closer cooperation between India, Pakistan and other neighbours for Afghanistan’s progress.

“We know that Afghanistan’s success will require the cooperation and support of each of its neighbours. And, all of us in the region — India, Pakistan, Iran and others — must unite … behind this common purpose,” Modi said.

Modi also made a veiled reference to Pakistan on the issue of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan will succeed only when terrorism no longer flows across the border; when nurseries and sanctuaries of terrorism are shut; and, their patrons are no longer in business,” Modi said.


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