LAMIYA SHABBIR WRITES – It was the tweet heard across the subcontinent: India and Pakistan’s leaders play nice at a conference designed to save the world.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Vikas Swarup tweeted, “On a chilly November morning, PM @narendramodi is welcomed warmly by President @fhollande for @COP21 #COP21,” followed by a tweet that became an interesting topic not only a lot of newspapers but also a topic for people to talk about on social media. Swarup tweeted along with a picture on November 29: “This was a brief exchange of courtesies in the Leader Lounge. PM meets many Heads of State/Govt.”
The breaking news was that the leaders of India and Pakistan shook hands and sat down to talk on Monday at the climate conference in Paris. The story made such a hit in world of politics because both leaders did not talk when visiting the United Nations General Assembly in September. Pakistan media described the meeting between Sharif and Modi as a “positive development.”
The head of LEAD-Pakistan (Leadership for Environment and Development-Pakistan) said that they only met each other because they could not escape at the Paris summit – this does not mean any revolution. But, when Prime Minister Sharif met with Shakeel Ramay, a member of the Pakistani delegation from Sustainable Development Policy Institute, a think-tank in Islamabad, he told him that “we have lots of concerns in Pakistan about terrorist activities and that we need to talk about it” when asked if Mr. Modi approached to him to talk about cooperation.
Since Mr. Modi has come into power, he has been trying to improve relations between the two countries, which have constantly failed. The meeting in August 2015 was stopped between the national security advisers, largely over disagreements over potential topics of discussion. Both leaders had initially agreed on talking only about terrorism and border violence, but Pakistan wanted to talk about status of Kashmir dispute.
Yet, despite those failures, Mr. Modi noticed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and shook his hand in Paris. This could mean the beginning of improved relations politically, economically, and even with media that can cover positive aspects of the other countries, potentially even opening the door for tourism between countries.