Kerry hails Modi for inviting Sharif for swearing-in ceremony

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John Kerry
Washington, Jul 29: US Secretary of State John Kerry has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inviting his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony which he described as the first step towards improving relations between the two neighbours.

"Prime Minister Modi took the important first step of inviting Nawaz Sharif to his inauguration. Both men are business-minded leaders who want to create opportunity for their people," Kerry told a Washington-audience at an event organised by the Centre for American Progress (CAP), a US think-tank.

"I talked to Nawaz Sharif after his visit there. He was very encouraged, thought it was positive, possibilities he understood. So improved trade is a win-win for both countries and both peoples," he said.

"I know that there are plans for the commerce secretaries and foreign secretaries (of the two countries) to meet in the coming weeks in order to build on that.  I commit to you that the United States will do everything we can to encourage India and Pakistan to work together and improve the prospects for both prosperity and stability in the region," Kerry said referring to the series of meetings being planned between officials of India and Pakistan.

Kerry said Modi understands the opportunities that regional connectivity provides for India and for a more stable, prosperous region. "And by inviting leaders from around the region to his swearing-in, and by bringing them together to speak about connecting their economies as one of his first orders of business, he is eager for India to play a leading role. And guess what? So are we," he said.

"Nowhere is that leadership more critical than in improving cross-border trade and relations between India and Pakistan," said the Secretary of State, endorsing Modi's move in this regard.


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