PM Modi to visit Pakistan next year for SAARC meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Pakistan next year to participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), according to  report on Wednesday.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was quoted by  saying that she would accompany Modi for the visit next year.

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

There was no official word on the issue. Sources in New Delhi said the Prime Minister is likely to attend the SAARC Summit in Pakistan though there has been no official confirmation so far.

If Modi travels to Pakistan, it will be the first visit 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

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