Nazaw, Modi likely to meet in Washington


Before PM Modi, only three prime ministers Jawahar Lal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the neighboring nation.

The New York Times, which quite often has been critical of the Prime Minister, while underscoring the significance of Modi's impromptu trip to Lahore said the Indian leader in the past has moved from one policy to the other and described it as "a diplomatic dance".

He said India should now restore composite dialogue with Pakistan and resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, through dialogue.

As the two foreign secretaries will meet on January 15, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar has started making preparations for his upcoming visit to Islamabad.

"It was decided that the dialogue will be increased", Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said.

"If an aggressive attitude of India ends after the meeting of the prime ministers of Pakistan and India at Jati Umra, it can be termed positive", he said in a statement here on Saturday. Apart from Musharraf, even Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari came to India in non-formal settings-Gilani for the World Cup cricket semi-final at Mohali, and Zardari on a pilgrimage to Ajmer.

The Prime Minister also noted that Parliament recently had a good debate on the Constitution to mark the birth anniversary of its architect B R Ambedkar.

With a military man having a greater say in the process, there is more confidence about discussing such sensitive topics, several officials said.

A well-respected career diplomat, Raghavan has previously served on key diplomatic assignments in Pakistan, United Kingdom, Bhutan, and Kuwait since he joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1982. "I am confident the visit will reduce tensions", Shafqat Mehmood, a leader of PTI, said.

One is too familiar with the complicated love-hate relationship between India and Pakistan. Modi, who had made the announcement about the campaign in his last Independence Day address, said the program will be created to suit Indian conditions and focus would be on ensuring benefits for the youth from the lowest strata of the society.

This year has shown both the limits and the possibilities in India's often troubled engagement with its neighbors.

"There is widespread anger against Pakistan in our country, but our PM is having a stopover in Lahore to extend birthday greetings to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif", they said.