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May 27, 2014

Indian investment in Pakistan welcome, says Nawaz

May 27, 2014

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated that Indian investment in Pakistan would be welcome and pressed on the need for the two countries to work together to ensure stability and security in the region.
Sharif specifically invited Indian businessmen to invest inwould offer high returns to the Indian companies on their investment in this sector.Sharif said he is regarded as a friend of businessmen and Modi is also perceived as a business-friendly person.
Sharif said he could easily work with India’s new government, hoping that their personal focus on boosting business could help “turn a new page” in bilateral ties.He said he was carrying a message of goodwill, love and friendship for the Indian people.“I am here to turn a new page in India-Pakistan relations,” said Sharif.
Indeed, Indian companies such as the Adani Group have proposed producing electricity to be sold to Pakistan. But such proposals have not taken off. Sharif once again reminded Indian businesses of such opportunities.
“If Indians come, they will find Pakistani markets very attractive, with returns as high as 30 percent,” Sharif said.Asked if he was willing to give an assurance that terrorism would no longer be sponsored from Pakistani soil, a point likely to be taken up at the bilateral meeting between him and Modi Tuesday (today), the Pakistani premier struck a positive note.
“We have lost thousands of lives. Our economy has suffered at the hands of terrorists. Who can be more serious than us regarding eliminating terror from the region,” Sharif said, seated in the VIP suite at Delhi’s Taj Mansingh hotel. “Let us focus on opening a new chapter and remove fears and misgivings about each other,” he said.
In another interview with NDTV, shortly after arriving here, Sharif said both the governments enjoy a strong mandate which could help in turning a new page in relations between the two countries.
“Both countries should rid the region of

instability and insecurity that has plagued us for decades,” NDTV quoted Nawaz as saying.He termed his visit as a “great moment” that offers a “great opportunity” to improve relations.
Nawaz is among the six South Asian leaders invited to the oath-taking ceremony. Sharif likened the BJP’s election victory to his own win last year and said, “Both governments have a strong mandate. This could help in turning a new page in our relations.”
He said he has the greatest of respect for BJP’s former Prime Minister Vajpayee. “We should remove fears, mistrust and misgivings about each other,” he told NDTV.
“I intend taking up threads from where Vajpayee and I left off in 1999,” he added. He said he sees the election of the Indian prime minister as a “great moment and a great opportunity.”Sharif said the two nations have so much cultural and traditional similarity so why not turn the similarities into our strength?
Sharif will meet Modi today at approximately 12:00 PM. The meeting is expected to last an hour and will be centred on enhancing confidence building measures between the two countries.
Sharif will also meet Indian President Pranab Mukherjee after his meeting with Modi.Prior to his departure for New Delhi, Sharif said he is visiting India with the message of peace as dialogue was the only solution for problems.
The prime minister added that Pakistan wanted positive relationships with all neighbouring countries including India. Indian officials see Sharif’s meeting with Modi, scheduled for around noon today, as an ice-breaker but the Pakistani leader described it as a chance to reach out to each other.
In his trip to India, Sharif is accompanied by his Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and Political Secretary Asif Kirmani. Sharif is visiting New Delhi on the invitation of Modi.
“Modi has appreciated the much-neglected fact that foreign policy begins at the nation’s borders,” wrote foreign policy analyst C Raja Mohan in the Indian Express. “As a realist, however, Modi should be aware that major breakthroughs are unlikely amid the current flux within Pakistan.” –

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