New Delhi- Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated that Islamabad and New Delhi should work together to ensure stability and security in the region.
In an interview with renowned Indian journalist of a private TV channel, shortly after arriving here on an historic visit to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi, the Pakistani Prime Minister said both the governments enjoy a strong mandate which could help in turning a new page in relations between the two countries. "Both countries should rid the region of instability and security that had plagued us for decades," quoted Sharif as saying. Sharif termed his visit as a ‘great moment’ that offers a ‘great opportunity’ to improve relations.
The Pakistan premier, who took power last June for the third time, is among the six South Asian leaders invited to the oath ceremony. Mr Sharif's visit is being seen as a historic first for the regional rivals whose ties have been frosty since last year, when hostilities escalated after a series of ceasefire violations at the border. Sharif likened the BJP's election victory to his own win last year and said, "Both governments have a strong mandate. This could help in turning a new page in our relations. This is the same BJP's Prime Minister Vajpayee for whom I have the greatest of respect."
Sharif, 64, will meet the new Prime Minister on Tuesday as part of a series of bilateral meetings with all eight world leaders. Indian officials see the meeting, scheduled for around noon, as an ice-breaker but the Pakistani leader described it as a chance to reach out to each other. "We should remove fears, mistrust and misgivings about each other," he told the channel, adding, "Both countries should rid the region of instability and security that has plagued us for decades. We should remove fears, mistrust and misgivings about each other," he added.
Referring to a question about landslide win of the Bhartia Janata Party in recent Indian elections, Sharif said that it was the same BJP of former Prime Minister Atal Bahari Vajpayee for whom he had the greatest of respect. "I intend taking up threads from where Vajpayee and I left off in 1999," he added.