In a letter to his Indian counterpart, Pakistan’s prime minister says he looks forward to working together on all ‘unsettled’ matters.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has written to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to express satisfaction over their “meaningful” first meeting as the rival neighbors attempt better relations, an official said on Wednesday.
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 Pakistan.
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,” according to an official from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. “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 on Wednesday.
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 traveled to Delhi for talks with Modi on Monday.
“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,” he added. “It is my earnest hope that our endeavors will lay the foundation of a much brighter future.”
Modi and Sharif are expected to meet again in September on the sidelines of U.N. General Assembly in New York in September.