Modi prepares to meet SAARC leaders, including Sharif

New Delhi: Narendra Modi, who took over as India’s new prime minister Monday, meets his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and other leaders from the SAARC countries Tuesday in one of his first engagements after taking charge, officials said.

Modi has a busy day ahead.

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.

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.

SAARC leaders 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” without any structured bilateral agenda.

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

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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Free Press Journal