'A Historic Opportunity'
I am pleased to be in New Delhi at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi. Yesterday, I attended his oath-taking ceremony.
Today, I had a good and constructive meeting with Prime Minister Modi this afternoon. It was held in a warm and cordial atmosphere. We agreed that our meeting in New Delhi, should be a historic opportunity for both our countries.
I pointed out that we were at the beginning of our respective tenures, with a clear mandate. This provides us the opportunity of meeting the hopes and aspirations of our peoples that we will succeed in turning a new page in our relations. The one and a half billion people of the two countries want us to focus on their well-being and welfare.
I recalled my invitation to Prime Minister Vajpayee to Lahore in February 1999 and told him that I intended to pick up the threads of the Lahore Declaration, from where it had to be left off in October 1999.
I stressed to Prime Minister Modi that we have a common agenda of development and economic revival, which is not possible to achieve without peace and stability in the region. I urged that together, we should rid the region of instability and insecurity, that has plagued us for decades.
Consequently, it was important for us to work together for peace, progress and prosperity. Finally, I urged that we had to strive to change confrontation into cooperation. Engaging in accusations and counter-accusations would be counter-productive, I emphasized. My government, therefore, stands ready to discuss all issues between our two countries, in a spirit of cooperation and sincerity.
After all, we owe it to our people to overcome the legacy of mistrust and misgivings. We agreed that this common objective could be facilitated by greater people-to-people exchanges, at all levels.
Prime Minister Modi warmly reciprocated my sentiments and remarked that my visit to New Delhi was seen as a special gesture by the people of India. He stated that it was incumbent on both of us to work together, to achieve our common objectives for peace and development.
We also agreed that the two Foreign Secretaries would be meeting soon, to review and carry forward our bilateral agenda, in the spirit of our meeting today.
It also gave me great pleasure to call on President Pranab Mukherjee this afternoon and have the warm and friendly exchanges with him.
I take leave of this historic city. I do so with a strong sense that the leaderships and the peoples of our two countries share desire and mutual commitment to carry forward our relationship, for the larger good of our peoples.
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