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Narendra Modi’s invitation to Nawaz Sharif excites Kashmir

“It is encouraging to see Modi reaching out to his neighbours at the very beginning of his tenure as Prime Minister,” PDP President Mehbooba Mufti said.

, ET Bureau|
May 22, 2014, 04.00 AM IST
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SRINAGAR: Narendra Modi’s move to invite the heads of Saarc nations, especially Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, to his oath-taking ceremony has won him immediate goodwill in Kashmir. The National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, the valley’s biggest regional parties, were among the first to welcome the decision, calling it a positive beginning towards tackling the vexed Kashmir issue.

“It is encouraging to see Modi reaching out to his neighbours at the very beginning of his tenure as Prime Minister,” PDP President Mehbooba Mufti said. “He actually sent out an encouraging signal that he is serious to follow Vajpayee’s initiatives of friendship towards Pakistan.” J&K is looking up with “renewed hope” to “a new beginning” on resolution of the Kashmir issue, she said, adding Sharif should respond positively to the invite.

Mufti’s party had won all three Kashmir seats in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections. Pakistan and Kashmir, she said, have historically been the two major challenges that all Indian PMs have faced and it augurs well that Modi has recognised the importance of Pakistan as a neighbour at the outset and had set the ball rolling for a meaningful engagement.

“This should not remain confined to cosmetics of an inaugural ceremony.” “Excellent move by @narendramodi to invite Saarc leaders, especially Pak PM for his swearing in,” a tweet from NC leader and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah read. “Hope this is beginning of sustained talks.” Omar, however, gave the initiative a different twist. “At the same time, I can’t help wonder what BJP would have said if a PM designate Rahul Gandhi had done the same thing.”

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