So, when the two rival nations put out a joint statement after their leaders held long-delayed talks in the Russian city of Ufa, some political commentators were caught by surprise.
Almost a year after his country called off talks with Pakistan, Mr. Modi accepted an invitation to visit Islamabad in 2016 for the upcoming Saarc summit.
Describing Friday’s meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit as a “constructive engagement,” India’s foreign ministry, along with its counterpart in Islamabad, highlighted steps the two sides agreed to take on “issues of bilateral and regional interests.”
Here are five takeaways from the statement.
1 Tackling Terrorism
The current national security advisors of the two nations, will meet to “discuss all issues connected to terrorism,” said the statement. It didn’t give a timeline for the meeting between India’s Ajit Doval and Pakistan’s Sartaj Aziz.
India has on several occasions blamed Pakistan for supporting terrorism, a claim Islamabad has repeatedly denied. Last year, after eight soldiers died in a militant attack on an Indian army camp in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh blamed Islamabad for “sheltering” terrorists. “If Pakistan can’t stop these attacks, let it take India’s help,” he said.
2 Military Meeting
The two sides also said meetings will take place between the heads of India’s Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers, followed by discussions between the director generals of military operations from both countries. Mr. Singh said in a statement Friday that this would “help in stabilizing the situation” at the border between India and Pakistan.
The border has recently seen a spate of violence with cross-border firing from both sides, forcing thousands of local people from their homes.
3 Freeing Fishermen
A decision on the release of Indian and Pakistani fishermen in custody in both countries, along with the return of their boats, can be expected in 15 days, according to the statement. Pakistan’s foreign ministry said as of July 1 that there were 355 Indian fishermen in Pakistani jails and 27 Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails. The statement did not go as far as to say they would be released however.
4 Religious Tourism
The neighbors agreed to establish a “mechanism for facilitating religious tourism” between the two countries.
5 Mumbai Terror Attack
Six months after Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the devastating attack on Mumbai that killed 166 people in 2008, was freed from prison in Pakistan, the two sides announced a decision to “discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.” India alleges that the attackers were backed by Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies—a charge that Pakistan denies.