Mumbai : The chairman of the Mumbai branch of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Sudheendra Kulkarni, on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to stopover in Lahore to wish Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday is a historic, bold and visionary step that would leave the world community unexpectedly surprised.
He also said the stopover is a great 91st birthday gift for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“It’s a great day. Today is Christmas and in the true sense of the festival, we are saying Merry Christmas. Prime Minister has taken a historic, bold and a visionary step of surprising the entire world by going to Lahore and greeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday. Steps like these create history,” Kulkarni told ANI.
“Atal Bihar Vajpayee ji would be very happy. It is a great birthday gift that Narendra Modi has given,” he added.
He also said that December 25 was also Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s birth anniversary, and reminded the people of both Pakistan and India, that it was Jinnah’s cherished desire to have communal harmony and regular interaction between India and Pakistan, and also his desire to spend his last days at Jinnah House in Bombay.
Prime Minister Modi earlier in the afternoon departed for Lahore for his surprise visit to meet his Pakistani counterpart.
The two Prime Ministers would be meeting at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport.
Earlier, confirming the news, the Prime Minister tweeted, “Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif & wished him on his birthday. Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi.”
Prime Minister Modi had earlier today extended his wishes to the Pakistani counterpart on his 65th birthday.
The two Prime Ministers had last met at the Paris Climate Summit COP21.(ANI)