Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif departed for New Delhi on Monday to attend the oath-taking ceremony of India’s prime minister-elect Narendra Modi,
BJP spokeswoman Nirmala Sitharaman claimed previously that all heads of government from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries were invited for the ceremony. Mr Modi’s decision to invite Nawaz Sharif for his inauguration and bilateral talks came as a surprise and raised hopes for a thaw in relations between the two countries, particularly frosty since 2008 Mumbai attacks.
In a goodwill gesture, Sharif ordered the release of 151 Indian prisoners a day earlier. The Pakistani leader’s attendance will be a first in the history of the two neigh bours which remain divided over the disputed region of Kashmir and other issues. Narendra Modi will be sworn today as prime minister at a glittering ceremony that will be as much a show of his determination to be a key player on the global stage as a celebration of his stunning election victory. -dawn