Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Pakistan next year to participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made the announcement on Wednesday during her two-day visit to the country, adding that she would accompany Modi during his trip. Swaraj is currently in Islamabad to participate in the Heart of Asia Conference on peace and stability in Afghanistan. The last prime ministerial visit from India to Pakistan was by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in January 2004, also for the SAARC summit held that year.
At the conference, Swaraj said that it was high time that both nations displayed the maturity to do business with each other and strengthen regional trade and cooperation. The minister also said that New Delhi’s vision was one of interlinked trade, transit, energy and communication routes, with Afghanistan as an important hub.
“For its part, India is prepared to move our cooperation at a pace which Pakistan is comfortable with,” she added, calling for access by Afghanistan to India’s markets to enjoy the zero duty regime available to its exports to India.