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Narendra Modi calls for action by Pakistan on militants

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-05-2014 AFP

New Delhi: India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to crack down on militant groups on Tuesday, while stressing his desire for better relations and trade, the foreign ministry said.

Modi “underlined our concerns related to terrorism,” Indian foreign secretary Sujatha Singh said in a statement after talks between the leaders of the nuclear-armed rivals in New Delhi.

“We want peaceful and friendly relations with Pakistan, however for such relations to proceed it is important that terror and violence is brought to an end,” Singh said.

She added that Modi conveyed that Islamabad needed to “abide by its commitment to prevent its territory and territory it controls being used to stage terror attacks on India”.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947, and relations remain tense amid mutual distrust and regular skirmishes along their disputed Kashmir border.

Ties between the neighbours deteriorated considerably after the Mumbai attacks of 2008, which killed 166 people and were blamed on Pakistani militants.

Modi also underlined his desire to improve commercial ties between the countries, a focus of efforts under the previous government.

“There was discussion on trade and we noted that we were fully ready to fully normalise trade and economic relations. Both prime ministers expressed their interest in having this done as early as possible,” Singh said.

Modi held bilateral meetings on Tuesday with eight regional leaders who attended his swearing-in ceremony on Monday, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and Pakistan’s Sharif.

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