The mainstream American media has hailed the brief Lahore stopover of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, reporting it as a significant development in the relationship between the two South Asian neighbours.
The Wall Street Journal described Modi’s surprise move as “likely to add momentum to a tentative reconciliation process” between the nuclear-armed neighbours while The Chicago Tribune noted it as “potential sign of thawing” relations.
It is “the biggest surprise of all” of Modi’s diplomatic moves since he came to power on May 26, 2014, for which he had invited leaders of the South Asian countries, the Time magazine wrote. “It’s the first trip to the country by an Indian head of state in a decade – and could be a sign of improving relations between the two neighbours,” the popular National Public Radio said.
According to The Los Angeles Times, with his Lahore visit Modi “breathed new life into a long-troubled” relationship. The New York Times, which quite often has been critical of the Prime Minister, while underscoring the significance of Modi’s impromptu trip to Lahore said the Indian leader in the past has moved from one policy to the other and described it as “a diplomatic dance”.
Twitter – where the Prime Minister first informed the world about his visit to Lahore – was abuzz with his decision to meet Sharif. All major American news outlets took to Twitter and other modes including SMS and emails to inform their readers about the breaking news from South Asia.
Even on a Christmas Day, a number of think tank experts and academicians expressed their views about Modi’s Lahore visit on the social media. “Unexpected but welcome visit” by Modi to Lahore, said Richard N Hass, president, Council on Foreign Relations, a top US think tank. There is “need to make high-level” India-Pak “diplomacy routine”, he wrote on Twitter.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the leader of the opposition Peoples Party of Pakistan, welcomed the Prime Minister’s surprise stoppage at Lahore. “Constant engagement is the only way to resolve all outstanding issues,” he wrote on Twitter.