he Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Lahore, terming the move as “imaginative” and “transformative”, with his talks with his counterpart Nawaz Sharif also earning the approval of party veteran LK Advani.
Advani welcomed Modi’s meeting with Sharif and said that the efforts initiated by former PM and senior party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee should be taken forward by Modi and others. He also suggested continued engagement as a means to improve ties with Pakistan and to end terrorism, “which has been an issue between both the countries”.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh, who admitted to have been surprised by the move, was also quick to describe the visit as an example of “innovative diplomacy”, which his party hopes to continue to follow.
Meanwhile, the BJP described the visit as a “pursuit of peace” and was lavish in its appreciation for Nawaz Sharif and eager to share credit. Party spokesperson MJ Akbar said the party congratulates Sharif for his “vision and leadership”. Akbar also hailed both PMs for attempting to “write a new chapter in the difficult India-Pakistan relationship” as “authors reading from the same page”.
In Akbar’s opinion, the meeting between Modi and Sharif, who had last interacted in Paris on the sidelines of the climate change conference, could be called an effective example of climate change in the region. “A warm personal relation between the two PMs is symptomatic of the diplomatic thaw that has taken place and augurs well for the South Asian region,” he said.
Meanwhile, Akbar refuted the Congress’ charge that an industrialist had arranged the meeting and said that Modi will visit Pakistan again in 2016 for the SAARC Summit if all goes well. He also said that Modi’s vision is for improved relations in the SAARC, much like present-day Europe, which for 70 years was a “frozen war zone”, adding that the NSA-level talks in Bangkok and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Pakistan have contributed to towards a conducive atmosphere.