New Delhi: As expected, on Friday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress Party reacted differently to the news of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan meeting at Lahore's Allama Iqbal Airport.
While the BJP leadership expressed enthusiasm over the development, calling it statesmanship of the highest quality, the Congress predictably termed the sudden stopover as just plain ridiculous.
If on the one hand, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, "That's like a statesman. Padosi se aise hi rishte hone chahiyen (Relations with our neighbours should be just like this)", Congress leader and former union minister Manish Tewari said, "This adventure of PM Modi is going to have serious implications on India's national security. If the decision is not preposterous, then it is utterly ridiculous."
BJP spokesman Nalin Kohli told ANI, "If two countries can try to work out a relation that brings peace not only between them, but also the entire region, it is something to be welcomed. Better relations with Pakistan are in interest of the region. We will keep raising our concerns too."
Ajoy Kumar of the Congress asked, "Have relations with Pakistan improved that the Prime Minister is meeting the Pakistan Prime Minister today? Earlier, confirming the news of his visit to Lahore, Prime Minister Modi tweeted, "Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif & wished him on his birthday. Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi."
Prime Minister Modi had extended his wishes to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his 65th birthday. "I wish the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Nawaz Sharif on his birthday and pray that he remains in wonderful health," Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet.
Nawaz Sharif was born on 25 December 1949. He is the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan in office since June 2013. A veteran politician and industrialist, he previously served as Prime Minister from November 1990 to July 1993 and from February 1997 to October 1999.
The two Prime Ministers had last met at the Paris Climate Summit COP2....