Modi, Sharif set to take first step
However, top on the agenda would be bilateral relations between neighbours India and Pakistan. While Modi showed unprecedented pragmatism by inviting these leaders, his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif should be credited for reciprocating in the same vein.
When the two leaders meet at Hyderabad House on Tuesday, no path-breaking announcements are expected to be made but certainly there are expectations in the both the nations that they would take a step in the right direction. The two leaders are expected to meet for about half-an-hour.
Sharif has come for the visit braving opposition from several quarters including the Pakistan army. Sharif, during his poll campaign, had given priority to having good relations with India. In media interactions, he has said that he intended to take forward the relations which had commenced during his earlier tenure with then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Modi by visiting an ailing Vajpayee after paying obeisance at the Samadhi of the father of the nation on Monday has also made it clear that he too wishes to pursue Vajpayee’s diplomatic agenda.
Meanwhile, official sources said trade-related issues such as grant of non-discriminatory market access to Indian products are expected to figure in the Modi-Sharif bilateral meeting on Tuesday. ‘Definitely both the prime ministers will discuss issues related with trade. It is an important issue. But the ball is in the court of Pakistan. India has already agreed on the roadmap to boost trade between the two countries,’ official sources said.
Pakistan has decided to postpone grant of Non- Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) status to India due to domestic compulsions. Bilateral trade talks have been suspended since last year following escalation in violence at the LoC.