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Pakistan Prime Minister to attend Indian inauguration, a first

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s prime minister will attend the inauguration of India’s Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi, a first for the nuclear-armed rivals, his spokesman said Saturday.

Pakistan and India have a history of uneasy relations and they have fought three wars over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir since their independence from Britain in 1947. Saturday’s decision by could signal a further easing of tensions.

A statement from Nawaz Sharif’s office said the prime minister had been invited this week by New Delhi to attend the ceremony. Sharif already congratulated Modi over his Bharatiya Janata Party’s landslide victory in the elections that concluded last week.

State-run Pakistan Television said Sharif also would meet with the Indian president during his visit.

Relations between Pakistan and India have witnessed ups and down. Relations froze after an attack on Mumbai in 2008 in which Pakistani terrorists killed 166 people. A mild thaw since has helped trade, though not much progress has been made in normalizing bilateral ties.

During the election campaign, Modi took a tough stance on Pakistan’s role in sponsoring terror attacks in India. But since his victory, Modi has softened his stand somewhat. He has said that he would like to engage India’s neighbors and have friendly relations with them.

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