Kabul to Delhi via Lahore: Modi realises Manmohan’s dream
More than eight years after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke of his dream of having breakfast in India, lunch in Pakistan and dinner in Afghanistan, his successor Narendra Modi made it come true, albeit in reverse.
Addressing an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi on January 8, 2007, Singh had even expressed the hope that India and Pakistan would enter into a treaty of peace, security and friendship.
“I dream of a day when, while retaining our respective national identities, one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul. That is how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live,” said Singh, who was born in the village of Gah, now part of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Singh had also referred to the “interlinked destinies” of the people of South Asia and an increasingly integrated world in which “political borders are no longer economic and social barriers”.
Those were the heady days when the two countries were making incremental progress through their composite dialogue process. But the talks were derailed after 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives targeted Mumbai in November 2008, killing 166 people.
India put on hold the composite dialogue and Singh never realised his dream of visiting Gah, to which he was invited by successive Pakistani governments.
On Friday, Modi realised Singh’s dream when he flew into Kabul – well in time for breakfast – for a previously unannounced visit to inaugurate Afghanistan’s new Parliament building built by India at a cost of $90 million.
Though Modi’s departure for Lahore was apparently delayed, he held talks with Sharif over tea, the MEA spokesperson tweeted.
And Modi returned to India well in time for dinner.