Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprising stop on his way back from a diplomatic visit to Moscow. His unscheduled stop at Lahore took the world by surprise, even as the two nations are taking bold strides towards bolstering mutual cooperation.
Hours before landing in Pakistan, Modi visited Ashraf Ghani and Hamid Karzai, the incumbent and former President of Afghanistan. He also inaugurated the new Parliament building that India has sponsored for Afghanistan. Modi then went to visit Nawaz Sharif, to wish him for his birthday, a date he shares with former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was pleasantly surprised to find himself in the wedding of Sharif’s daughter, who he promptly blessed with a happy marriage.
Modi has indicated that India is ready to resume peace dialogues with Pakistan. Diplomatic relations with Pakistan must improve for better transit connectivity with Afghanistan and some parts of Central Asia. Some have criticized Modi’s sudden visit as a tactic to gain the long coveted UNSC membership. It appears, though, that UNSC membership is only a part of the big picture.
Modi’s two day visit to Russia was a little less eventful but progressive in terms of nuclear and defense agreements. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant will finally grow beyond the first two stages and a deal was signed for assembling Kamov-226T helicopters. Russia has agreed to let India control the entire manufacturing of these helicopters for defense and exports.