New Delhi, May 27:
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Tuesday after “a very good meeting” with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that it was time to open “a new page” in bilateral relationship.
Sharif told the media before flying back to Islamabad that he had underlined to Modi, who became prime minister a day earlier, that India as well as Pakistan needed peace to build their economies.
Sharif described his 45-minute meeting with Modi at the Hyderabad House as “very good and constructive” and added: “It was held in a warm and cordial atmosphere.”
He told Modi that he desired to take forward the peace process that he had initiated with then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999 until it was derailed by a military coup.
“I intend to pick up the threads of the Lahore peace declaration.”
The Pakistani premier said his own election and Modi’s electoral victory – both “with a clear mandate” – “should be a historic opportunity for both our countries”.
This, he said, “provides us the opportunity of meeting the hopes and aspirations of our people” and added that he hoped “to succeed and turn a new page in our relationship”.
He recalled to Modi his invitation to the now ailing Vajpayee to Lahore in February 1999 “and told him that I intend to pick up the threads of the Lahore declaration” of peace.
“I stressed that we have a common agenda of economic revival which is not possible to achieve without peace.”
Sharif said he urged Modi “to strive to change confrontation to cooperation” and added his government was “ready to discuss all issues in a spirit of cooperation”.
“After all we owe it to our people … to rid the region of instability and insecurity that has plagued us for decades.
“Accusations and counter-accusations will be counter productive… We must end the legacy of mistrust.”
“Modi warmly reciprocated my sentiments,” Sharif said.
Modi and Sharif agreed to let the two foreign secretaries meet soon to carry forward the bilateral agenda.
Sharif said he also had “warm and friendly exchanges” with President Pranab Mukherjee after meeting Modi.