World Bulletin/News Desk
A day after being sworn-in as India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi has held a series of meetings with South Asian leaders, including highly-anticipated bilateral talks with Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
Immediately after taking charge, Modi announced a compensation package of US$3450 to the families of those killed and US$862 to those seriously injured in a train accident that killed 40 in northern state Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
The bilateral meeting between Modi and Sharif at Delhi’s Hyderabad House lasted 40 minutes and was also attended by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.
According to Indian television media, Modi told Sharif that terror attacks on Indian soil must end if talks between the two nuclear arch-rivals are to progress.
Modi also raised the trial of the 2008 Mumbai attacks which India blames on militants from Pakistan. They reportedly discussed the granting of special trading status between the countries.
"PM underlined our concerns relating to terrorism. It was conveyed that Pakistan must abide by its commitment to prevent its territory and territory under its control from being used for terrorism against India," Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told reporters after the meeting.
The meeting on Modi's first day as prime minister had raised hopes that the nuclear rivals might try and seek a breakthrough early on in the new adminstration in New Delhi.
"The PMs agreed that the foreign secretaries will remain in touch and explore how to move forward," Singh said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on his part that top diplomats from Pakistan and India would meet soon to advance peace talks that have moved fitfully because of political tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.
"We agreed that our meeting in New Delhi should be a historic opportunity for both our countries," he told reporters. "This provides us the opportunity of meeting the hopes and aspirations of our peoples that we will succeed in turning a new page in our relations."
"We also agreed that the two foreign secretaries would be meeting soon to review and carry forward our bilateral agenda in the spirit of our meeting today."
The high-profile meeting was initially viewed as a mere formality but it is not immediately known whether the two discussed the contentious issue of Kashmir.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate Kashmir-based Hurriyat Conference said the meeting was a “positive” step likely to be followed by dialogue on all issues, including Kashmir.
Sharif toured historic areas of Delhi like the Red Fort, Chandi Chowk and Jama Masjid before meeting the prime minister.
Earlier Modi met Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and reportedly discussed an attack on the Indian consulate in western Afghan city Herat last week and the consequences of a NATO withdrawal from the war-torn country later this year.
Modi went ahead with a meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapaksa despite protests by state parties in southern state of Tamil Nadu.
On Monday Sharif told NDTV, a private Indian news channel, “We should remove fears, mistrust and misgivings about each other. Both countries should rid the region of instability and insecurity that has plagued us for decades.”Last Mod: 27 Mayıs 2014, 14:59