NEW DELHI, May 26, 2014 (AFP) – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to hold landmark talks with his Pakistani counterpart and announce his new cabinet Tuesday as he looked to hit the ground running on his first day in office. The morning after Modi and his slimmed-down team of ministers were sworn in, the right-wing leader was to host Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bid to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Sharif was one of six regional leaders to attend the lavish inauguration on Monday evening for Modi, a former tea boy who has been elected leader of the world’s largest democracy with the strongest mandate for 30 years.
Modi has an image as a hardliner, even within his own Hindu nationalist party, and is regarded with deep suspicion by many in Pakistan after deadly anti-Muslim riots erupted in his western fiefdom a decade ago.
But in a surprise move that disarmed many of his critics, Modi decided last week to invite Sharif to his inauguration and then to join him for bilateral talks scheduled for Tuesday morning.
“Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and developm