PM Modi to visit Pakistan next year for SAARC meet: Swaraj

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 09, 2015 17:01 IST
File photo of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, left, before a meeting in New Delhi. A Pakistani media report has said that Modi will visit Pakistan in 2017 for the SAARC summit. (Hindustan Times)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Pakistan next year to participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday.

Swaraj arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday to represent India at the Heart of Asia meeting on security and stability in Afghanistan.

Modi’s visit will be the first by an Indian Prime Minister since Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to the neighbouring country in January 2004 to attend that year’s SAARC meeting.

Swaraj is the first Indian foreign minister to visit Pakistan since 2012.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended Modi’s swearing last year but bilateral ties rapidly deteriorated because of differences on the issue of terrorism and Islamabad’s contacts with Kashmiri separatist leaders.

During the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in the Russian city of Ufa in July, Modi had accepted Sharif’s invitation to attend the SAARC Summit next year.

A brief meeting between Modi and Sharif on the margins of a climate change conference in Paris and talks between the national security advisers of India and Pakistan in Bangkok earlier this week have raised hopes of a thaw in bilateral relations.

With PTI inputs

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