It’s the mother of all surprises – Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to do what his predecessor could only dream about – breakfast in Kabul, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Delhi. In an intriguing tweet, Mr Modi announced that he will be stopping over in Lahore and meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his way back from Kabul.
Mr Modi will be the first prime minister to India to set foot on the Pakistani soil after Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2004.
“Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” Mr Modi tweeted, triggering a spate of speculation.
“Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif & wished him on his birthday,” Modi said in another tweet.
Mr Modi’s sudden announcement of his trip to Lahore is in keeping with secretive out-of-the-box diplomacy, away from a high-decibel noisy media, that’s becoming his signature style vis-à-vis relations with Pakistan. The first surprise was the famous 160-second guftagu (tete-a-tete) with Mr Sahrif on the sidelines of the global climate summit in Paris on November 30, which triggered the change in climate leading to the meeting between the national security advisers of the two countries in Bangkok on a laidback Sunday in early December. The NSA’s meeting set the stage for the resumption of full-spectrum dialogue between the two estranged neighbours.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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