Yesterday (Afghan President) Karzai made the claim that the Taliban who attacked the Indian embassy at Herat (near Iran border) had planned for an extended hostage scenario in order to disrupt the inauguration ceremony ongoing in Delhi. We must remain vigilant for the cause of peace, there are too many people (on both sides) who are interested in making sure that the poison keeps flowing.
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
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.