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Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
Outlook.com

Inaugural Ideas

Modi’s focus will be India’s growth story. Pakistan isn’t there yet.

Inaugural Ideas
Narendra Bisht
Inaugural Ideas
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

As a photo-op, it was perfect. The leaders of South Asia together for the oath-taking ceremony of the BJP-led government, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan—both democratically elected for once—shaking hands: these are rare warm moments in the troubled universe of regional diplomacy.

Predictably, the arrival of Nawaz Sharif and his first conversation with Narendra Modi got most of the headlines. The fact that the Indian and Pakistani PMs discussed their ageing mothers may have sounded odd to a Westerner but was actually a very subcontinental thing to do, right down to Modi sending a shawl for the Sharif family matriarch.

The emotionalism was infectious. It drove sections of the media and the commentating classes to speak effusively of Modi being the hardliner who could do a deal with Pakistan, of the chance of peace talks, of trade obliterating other pre­s­sing differences and making Indo- Pak commerce and mut­ual pro­sper­ity the driving force of the relationship. How does such romanticism, agre­eable as it may be in...

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