Why did Narendra Modi visit Pakistan

India’s Prime Minister Modi makes a surprise visit to Pakistan

By Reuters Staff

New Delhi / Kabul (Reuters) - India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprising short visit to Pakistan on Friday to open the door for peace talks.

It is the first visit by an Indian head of government to the archenemy in more than ten years. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hugged Modi at the reception at the airport in the city of Lahore in the east of the country, state television showed. A spokesman for Sharif said the two wanted to discuss a number of bilateral matters, including the dispute over the Kashmir region. A close confidante of Modis described the visit as a spontaneous decision, but it did not mean a sudden change in Indian politics. Modi had previously spoken to Sharif on the phone and congratulated him on his 66th birthday.

The two heads of government had a brief conversation in November on the sidelines of the world climate summit in Paris. As a result, the Indian Foreign Minister Sushama Swaraj traveled to Pakistan. It was the first such visit in three years.

Modi and Sharif agreed to strengthen ties between the two countries, as Pakistani Foreign Minister Aizaz Chaudhry said after the meeting. The heads of government talked for around 90 minutes and had dinner together before Modi flew home. The two foreign ministers now want to meet in mid-January.

India and Pakistan have been enemies for decades and have nuclear weapons. Since their independence in 1947, they have waged three wars against each other, two of which were in the Kashmir region of the Himalayas. At a meeting in Russia in July, Modi and Sharif agreed that there should be peace talks. In August, however, high-level deliberations that had been planned for this purpose failed.

Modi was on his way back from a visit to Russia. Before arriving in Pakistan, he made a stopover in the Afghan capital, Kabul. There he took part in the ceremonial opening of a parliament building that was built with Indian help. India supports the Afghan government. Many Afghans believe that Pakistan finances the rebellious Taliban. The Pakistani government rejects this allegation.