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Analysis: Modi’s Lahore visit: much ado about nothing

Analysis: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

LAHORE: Indian premier Narendra Modi landed at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport on Dec 25 on a “surprise” visit, where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif were present to receive him.This is the first time an Indian premier has visited Pakistan in more than a decade. Television footage showed Modi exit his jet and embrace PM Nawaz, after which the two heads flew in a helicopter to Nawaz Sharif’s private residence in Raiwind. The Modi visit is likely to provide the Indian prime minister relief both at home and abroad because he had to face severe criticism especially on his Pakistan policy. The visit of course was pre-planned and the purpose from the face of it appears to be of private nature. Prime Minister Modi came to Pakistan to take  part in wedding celebrations of PM Nawaz Sharif daughterin law. In any case the visit is significant and may have far reaching impact vis a vis Pakistan India relations provided the Indian side shows some seriousness. Prime Minister Modi is well known for his somersaults. Let us hope this time he exhibits some maturity.

Since the nature of the visit turns out to be private therefore it is unlikely that any major breakthrough may be achieved however as said before the visit may contribute considerably towards amelioration of political atmosphere between the two countries, which has been spoiled by the hawkish approach of the India leadership. The reason that the Indian prime minister is unable  to commit anything particularly on core issues such as Kashmir, is that there seems a complete disconnect between the Indian political leadership and the military establishment. Since Modi is a weak prime minister and under too much criticism, therefore he does not have guts to express himself boldly in front of the Indian establishment.

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