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India and Pakistan carry on letter diplomacy amidst roaring of guns

Saturday, 14 June 2014 - 7:10am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Ahead of the meeting of foreign secretaries possibly in August to lay ground for a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, both the PMs continued to keep the bonhomie alive by exchanging letters following the shawl-and-sari diplomacy. Prime Minister Modi has replied to a letter written to him by Sharif and hoped for cordial relations, even as guns roared along the LoC on Friday.

In the letter, the Prime Minster addressed Sharif as "Dear Mian Sahib," and thanked him for his participation in the swearing-in ceremony of his government on May 26. Modi also thanked Sharif "for the sari that you sent for my mother, a gesture that she has deeply appreciated".

Foreign secretary Sujatha Singh said on Friday that India's policy towards its neighbours has been to work towards peaceful and cordial relations and "that is where the sari and shawl and the letter diplomacy fits in".

Modi said Sharif's presence and that of other leaders added a special sheen to the event, but also was a celebration of the strength of democracy in our region and a reflection of our collective hopes and shared destinies.

Significantly, Modi also highlighted his engagement with Sharif behind close doors, saying there was convergence in their views. He said he was "encouraged by our discussions on our bilateral relations and the convergence in our views, especially on the fact that a relationship between India and Pakistan defined by peace, friendship and cooperation would unleash enormous opportunities for our youth, secure a more prosperous future for our people and accelerate progress across our region". He also condemned the recent terror attack at the Karachi airport in Pakistan and condoled the loss of innocent lives.

Seeking to set to rest speculation and media reports about the outcome of their meeting and the treatment meted to him in India, Sharif had written to the PM on June 2 saying he was "much satisfied with our meaningful exchange of thoughts on matters of bilateral and regional interest".

Meanwhile, India has given to go ahead the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to organise Lifestyle Pakistan exhibition at Delhi's Pragati Maidan from 11-14 September.

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