Pakistani PM 'much satisfied' with Modi meeting

Pakistani PM 'much satisfied' with Modi meeting

NEW DELHI - Agence France-Presse
Pakistani PM much satisfied with Modi meeting

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, (R) poses for the media with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif before the start of their meeting in New Delhi, May 27. AP Photo

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has written to his new Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to express satisfaction with their "meaningful" first meeting as the rival neighbours attempt better relations, an official said June 11.

Sharif held talks with Modi in New Delhi last month after attending the inauguration of the Hindu nationalist Indian premier who swept to power in a landslide election victory.

Modi's invitation to Sharif was a surprise move seen as a significant olive branch to India's Muslim neighbour.  In the letter, Sharif expressed his gratitude to Modi for his generosity during the visit and said he looked forward to resolving all "unsettled matters," an official from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi told AFP. 

"I look forward to working with you in harmony on all unsettled matters for the benefit of both nations," Sharif wrote in the one-page letter.

"I must say that I have returned much satisfied with our meaningful exchange of thoughts on matters of bilateral and regional interest." The letter was sent last week to India's foreign ministry through the Pakistan High Commission, and published in India media.

Bilateral ties broke down after attacks by Pakistani gunmen on India's commercial hub Mumbai in 2008, in which 166 people were killed. An unresolved territorial dispute over Kashmir in the Himalayan region is also a source of ongoing tension.

Modi, expected to be a hawk in office, has surprised some commentators by reaching out to Pakistan and regional rival China, whose foreign minister travelled to Delhi for talks with Modi on June 9.

"It is the millions living in poverty in both countries who deserve our foremost attention," Sharif also said in the letter. "I firmly believe that in our concerted efforts lies the welfare and prosperity of our two nations." 

"It is my earnest hope that our endeavours will lay the foundation of a much brighter future." The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.

Their last war was in 1999 when Modi's party was last in office at the national level and Sharif was in power during a previous stint as premier. Modi and Sharif are expected to meet again in September on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in New York in September.