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Modi to meet Sharif, Saarc leaders today

Modi to meet Sharif, Saarc leaders today

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will Tuesday meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and other leaders from the Saarc countries in one of his first engagements after taking charge.

Modi, who talked to Sharif Monday, tweeted about their conversation saying the Pakistani prime minister's mother got emotional seeing his (Modi's) meeting with his mother on television following the Bharatiya Janata Party's victory in the election.

Though Modi will be meeting all leaders from the Saarc countries as also the Mauritius prime minister Tuesday, it is his meeting with Sharif that has aroused the maximum interest in the media due to the troubled relationship between the two countries over the years.

The bilateral relationship has been bedevilled by what India views as Pakistan's hesitation in taking action against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Before his departure to India, Sharif was reported by the Pakistani media as saying that he was carrying a message of peace and will discuss all matters with the Indian leadership.

As a goodwill gesture, Sharif Sunday ordered the release of 151 Indian prisoners captured by Pakistan.

There is a sense of anticipation among the people of both countries over Sharif's meeting with Modi.

The meeting will take place at 11.45 a.m. and is expected to last about 25 minutes.

It will be Modi's last meeting of the day with Saarc leaders who had flown in to attend his swearing-in ceremony Monday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Officials termed the meetings of the leaders with Modi as "courtesy meetings".

Modi, who reached Gujarat Bhavan after the programmes at Rashtrapati Bhavan, had a meeting with officials.

He also tweeted about his conversation with Sharif.

"Earlier in the evening in my conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he shared some very emotional things.

"Nawaz Sharif ji told me that he stays in Islamabad but goes to meet his mother once in a week. This time when he was eating with his mother, he saw visuals on TV of my mother offering me sweets. The visuals touched both Nawaz Sharif ji and his mother. He told me that after seeing the visuals, his mother got very emotional," Modi said in a series of tweets.

Modi's first meeting Tuesday will be with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at Hyderabad House at 9.30 a.m.

It will be followed by meetings with Maldives President Abdullah Yameen, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

Bangladesh parliament speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury will also meet Modi.

Sharif, Karzai, Yameen, Rajapaksa and Ramgoolam are scheduled to fly out Tuesday after their meetings with Modi.

Tobgay, Chaudhury and Koirala are scheduled to leave May 28.

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