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May 28, 2014

India and Pakistan attempt to mend relationships, address issue of terrorism

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In a surprise move, India’s newly-elected prime minister Narendra Modi invited his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to his inaugural address, signaling an effort to mend a historically strained relationship.

It is the first time since the two countries attained freedom from Britain in 1947 that a prime minister from Pakistan has attended such a ceremony in India.

India and Pakistan share a deep history of mistrust and have fought four wars against each other since 1947. Indian Prime Minister Modi’s nationalist party advocates a tough stance on Pakistan. Modi himself has faced wrath from Pakistan ever since deadly anti-Muslim riots killed nearly 800 people in 2002 during his watch as chief minister.

However, Sharif stressed breaking the “legacy of mistrust” and working towards mending relations.

“I pointed out that we were at the beginning of our respective tenures with a clear mandate,” he said. “This provides us the opportunity of meeting the hopes and aspirations of our peoples that we will succeed in turning a new page in our relations.”

The issue of terrorism is a primary concern for Modi, who urged Pakistan to crack down on militants and speed up the trial of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks suspects.

India’s foreign secretary Sujatha Singh said, “It was conveyed that Pakistan must abide by its commitment to prevent its from being used for terrorism against India. We also expect that necessary steps will be taken in the Mumbai terror attack trial under way in Pakistan.”

This meeting has spurred hopes of cordial relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals.


Warm up questions
  1. Where are India and Pakistan located?
  2. What happened in 1947? What were the effects?
Discussion questions
  1. Why were people surprised that the prime minister of India invited his Pakistani counterpart to attend his inauguration and to meet afterwards?
  2. How did the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India affect the relationship between India and Pakistan?
  3. Do you think this is a step in the right direction? Why or why not? What do you think would be a good next step? Defend your answer.
Writing prompt

Imagine that you have been chosen to serve as an objective third party mediator between the leaders of India and Pakistan, with the goal of improving relationships between the two countries. Outline a plan (three different points) you would present to both groups to improve relations and briefly explain why you believe your plan would work.

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