ISLAMABAD, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a surprise visit to meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Twitter Friday morning, just hours before his plane landed in Islamabad.
Modi was greeted at the airport by Sharif, marking the first visit by an Indian prime minister since 2004.
The visit comes on Sharif’s birthday as the two countries work to renew a dialogue in a relationship that is often rocky because of their more than 60-year battle over Kashmir, which has included two full-out wars.
“Am personally touched by Nawaz Sharif Sahab ‘s gesture of welcoming me at Lahore airport and coming to the airport when I left,” Modi tweeted after leaving Islamabad to head back to New Delhi, also thanking Sharif for welcoming him to his home on both the Pakistani prime minister’s birthday and wedding of his granddaughter.
Foreign secretaries from the countries are scheduled to meet in January to work on a road map for comprehensive peace talks, The New York Times reported. Although there has been a ceasefire in the long-time war over Kashmir, verbal squabbling has been nonstop — including on Twitter as some in Pakistan posted Modi was not welcome in the country.
The show of birthday love between the leaders follows a short meeting on the sidelines of the climate change talks earlier this month in Paris as they work to thaw and improve the relationship between their countries.