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PM calls Sharif, leaders of SAARC nations taking part in WC

Narendra Modi, Nawaz Sharif

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and other heads of the SAARC nations participating in the ICC Cricket World Cup and conveyed best wishes for the showpiece event.

Modi said he would be sending country’s new Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on a ‘SAARC Yatra’ to “further strengthen our ties”.

“Spoke to (Afghan) President Ashraf Ghani, (Bangladesh) Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and (Sri Lankan) President (Maithripala) Sirisena. Conveyed my best wishes for the Cricket World Cup,” Modi tweeted.

Noting that five SAARC nations are playing and ar excited about the World Cup, Modi said, “(I) am sure WC will celebrate sportsman spirit and will be a treat for sports lovers.”

“Cricket connects people in our region and promotes goodwill. Hope players from SAARC region play with passion and bring laurels to the region,” he said.

Australia and New Zealand will host the 11th ICC Cricket World Cup starting tomorrow and India and Pakistan will face each other in their opening game on Sunday.

The Prime Minister also tweeted, “Would be sending our new Foreign Secretary on a SAARC Yatra soon to further strengthen our ties.”

Jaishankar’s visit to Pakistan will be significant given that India had cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks in August last year after the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi held consultations with the Kashmiri separatists on the eve of the Indo-Pak talks.

Prime Minister’s remarks today came a day after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit met Jaishankar yesterday. The meeting was described as a curtesy call by the officials.

“It was a very cordial meeting where both of them discussed the status of Indo-Pak ties,” sources said.

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