Modi accepts Sharif's invitation to visit Pakistan for Saarc summit in 2016

Modi accepts Sharif's invitation to visit Pakistan for Saarc summit in 2016
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted Nawaz Sharif's invitation to visit Pakistan for the Saarc summit in 2016, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday after the two leaders held formal bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Russia.

In a rare moment, the two foreign secretaries — India's S. Jaishankar and Aizaz Chaudhry of Pakistan — made a joint address, emphasising the ‘very productive meeting between PM Modi and PM Sharif’.

"The meeting between India and Pakistan prime ministers was held in a cordial atmosphere," said  Aizaz Chaudhry, Pakistan foreign secretary. "Both countries are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues. They have condemned terrorism in all its forms," he added.

India's foreign secretary said both leaders agreed on a meeting in Delhi between the two National Security Adviserss to discuss all issues connected to terrorism. The two ministers also spoke about freeing fishermen from both sides within 15 days.

In a breakthrough, it was decided that the director generals of India's Border Security Force and the neighbour's Pakistan Rangers would meet followed by that of the director generals of military operations.

"The two sides have decided to release within 15 days fishermen in each other's custody and their boats," S. Jaishankar added.

Earlier, Narendra Modi was warmly received by his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif before their much-anticipated meeting here on the sidelines of the SCO Summit. The two leaders shook hands and posed for photographers before settling down for delegation-level talks.

Indian delegation included National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar while Sartaj Aziz, Sharif's advisor on foreign affairs and national security, was in the Pakistani delegation.

Setting the tone for the meeting, Modi and Sharif last night exchanged pleasantries and chatted briefly when they came face-to-face at a dinner hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for leaders of five BRICS countries and 10 SCO nations here.

The two leaders, who are here to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, are expected to discuss the status of the bilateral ties and the future direction.

Modi and Sharif were last together in Kathmandu in November last for the SAARC Summit but they did not have a bilateral meeting because of acrimony between the two countries at that time.
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