New Delhi, May 26 :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will Tuesday meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and other leaders from the Saarc countries in one of his first engagements after taking charge.
Modi will be meeting all leaders from the Saarc countries as also the Mauritius prime minister but it is his meeting with Sharif that has aroused the maximum interest in the media due to the troubled relationship between the two countries over the years.
The bilateral relationship has been bedevilled by what India views as Pakistan’s hesitation in taking action against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
Before his departure to India, Sharif was reported by the Pakistani media as saying that he was carrying a message of peace and will discuss all matters with the Indian leadership.
As a goodwill gesture, Sharif Sunday ordered the release of 151 Indian prisoners captured by Pakistan.
There is a sense of anticipation among the people of both countries over Sharif’s meeting with Modi.
The meeting will take place at 11.45 a.m. and is expected to last about 25 minutes.
It will be Modi’s last meeting of the day with Saarc leaders who had flown in to attend his swearing-in ceremony Monday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Officials termed the meetings of the leaders with Modi as “courtesy meetings”.
Modi’s first meeting Tuesday will be with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at Hyderabad House at 9.30 a.m.
It will be followed by meetings with Maldives President Abdullah Yameen, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
Bangladesh parliament speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury will also meet Modi.
Sharif, Karzai, Yameen, Rajapaksa and Ramgoolam are scheduled to fly out Tuesday after their meetings with Modi.
Tobgay, Chaudhury and Koirala are scheduled to leave May 28.