NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed the desire to start a new era of friendship with India with focus on resolving all oustanding issues and bringing peace and prosperity in the region.
He made these remarks while talking to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during his first ever interaction in New Delhi on Tuesday. The two leaders were accompanied by their respective delegations. Both the sides discussed various issues and ways to move forward the dialogue process to resolve these issues.
Nawaz Sharif said people of both the countries want cordial and friendly relations and it is an opportunity for their leadership to come up to their expectations. He said peoples of both the countries have given heavy mandate to their leadership which reflect their desire for peace and prosperity.
He said peoples of both the countries are peace loving and against an arms race and are facing common challenges of poverty and illiteracy and it should be our utmost effort to serve our masses. He said both the countries have wasted precious time and resources which should have been diverted towards peace and stability.
Nawaz Sharif said the two countries have traditional and cultural affinities and time has come to transform these affinities into strong bonds. He also referred to his meeting with former Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who also belongs to BJP and paid tributes to his leadership.
He said that he has great respect for Vajpayee who tried to play a role to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries. He expressed the desire that Pakistan wants to restore its relations with India as were in 1999. Earlier both the world leaders shook hands and exchanged grins for media at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, before heading inside for talks on Modi's first full day in government.
The talks are seen as landmark since this is the first time that any Pakistani has attended his counterpart's inauguration in India since 1947. This is also the first time an Indian prime minister has hosted a Pakistani leader for official talks in New Delhi since the rupture in relations that followed the 2008 Mumbai attacks.