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Modi and Sharif: From gifting shawls to trading barbs

September 26, 2016 13:00 IST
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Pakistan is a “terrorist State which carries out war crimes by using terrorism as an instrument of state policy," said First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations Eenam Gambhir in response to Nawaz Sharif’s speech on Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly.

The comment is a reflection of the worsening ties between the two countries post the Uri attack that saw 18 soldiers dying in the dastardly act.

With it, the apparent bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seems to have been buried. 

Here's a look at how their relationship has fared since 2014. 

Good beginnings


In May 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited his Pakistan counterpart for his swearing-in, along with other SAARC leaders, everyone lauded the move as a re-set in India's engagement with its neighbours, especially Pakistan. Modi gifted a shawl to Sharif's mother, and the latter reciprocated with a sari for his mother.

Ufa breakthrough

A year later, in July 2015, Sharif and Modi both met in the Russian town of Ufa on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.

The meet resulted in a joint statement addressing the contentious issues of terrorism and an increase in cross-border ceasefire violations.

According to the joint statement, the two sides decided that their respective national security advisors, India’s A K Doval and Pakistan’s Sartaj Aziz, would meet in New Delhi to “discuss all issues connected to terrorism”. Further, to de-escalate tensions at the border, an early meeting of the directors-general of the Border Security Force and the Pakistani Rangers would be held, followed by a meeting of the respective directors-general of military operations. 


In November that year, Modi once again met his Pakistani counterpart in Paris on the sidelines of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. This was the first time the two leaders would meet after the July Ufa meeting. 

Modi and Sharif met briefly which was then followed by talks between the national security advisors in Bangkok, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues.

The Bangkok meeting was quickly followed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj travelling to Islamabad.

Lahore landing

In a visit that surprised all, Modi landed in Lahore on December 25, 2015, to wish Sharif on his birthday and attend the wedding of the Pakistani PM’s granddaughter.

The move sent everyone into a tizzy, with journalists analysing the sudden visit and its significance.

This visit, and the bear hug the two leaders shared, showed that the bonhomie between Modi and Sharif was well and alive. 

Pathankot attack

On January 2, 2016, the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, Punjab, was attacked by terrorists of the Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed. 

Seven Indian security personnel lost their lives in the attack and all six terrorists involved in the attack were also killed. 

Following the attack, a Joint Investigation Team from Pakistan visited the airbase.

A few days later, a Pakistani newspaper quoted the JIT as saying, “the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan”.

Modi drops the B-bomb

On August 15, 2016, ties between the two countries plunged when PM Modi spoke of “freedom for Balochistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir” during his Independence Day speech.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi likened the anger in the country over the Uri attack to that witnessed during the 1965 war, maintaining that those responsible for the terror strike will surely be punished as he asserted that the army does not speak but displays bravery.

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