Narendra Modi, who took over as Prime Minister on Monday, and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, decided that their foreign secretaries will be in touch and discuss a way forward on talks that have been suspended since January, 2013.
“We agreed that the two Foreign Secretaries would be meeting soon, to review and carry forward our bilateral agenda, in the spirit of our meeting today,” Mr. Sharif said at the airport before leaving for Pakistan.
Taking a more circumspect tone, India said the foreign secretaries “may meet or be in touch” through their offices.
The two leaders met for 50 minutes at Delhi’s Hyderabad House, a day after Mr. Sharif attended Mr. Modi’s grand swearing-in ceremony along with other South Asian leaders.
The discussions turned out to be more substantive than an ice-breaker with Mr. Modi raising his concern on cross-border terror and the slow pace of the 26/11 trial.
“We want friendly relations with Pakistan. However, for such relations to proceed, terror and violence must end,” Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said.
She added that Mr. Modi had accepted Mr. Sharif’s invitation but “nothing was fixed.”
The attack on the Indian consulate at Herat in Afghanistan on Friday was also discussed. Afghan president Hamid Karzai has blamed Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attack linked by some to the Modi government’s takeover.
During his national election campaign, Mr. Modi had repeatedly targeted the Congress-led government for its “weak” policy on terror and for engaging with Pakistan despite relentless attacks from across the border.
After his victory, Mr. Modi surprised many by inviting Mr. Sharif for his inauguration. The Pakistan premier accepted it apparently against the advice of hardliners in his country.
Mr. Sharif’s daughter tweeted about today’s meeting, “Indian PM Modi refers to PM Sharif as ‘MAN OF PEACE’…. Hope negativity fails and peace wins (sic).”
Earlier, the Pakistani leader visited the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid in the old quarters of Delhi.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since Independence in 1947. Hostilities escalated last year after the killing of Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops and a series of ceasefire violations at the border.