LAHORE, Dec 25 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Lahore today for a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, in a surprise visit to this country � the first visit to Pakistan by an Indian Premier in more than 10 years.
Modi was received by Sharif with a warm hug at the tarmac of the Allama Iqbal International Airport after his unexpected stopover here on his way back home after a daylong trip today to Afghanistan where he went after concluding a two-day visit to Russia yesterday.
Modi was accorded a red carpet welcome as the PM�s special IAF Boeing 737 plane made a smooth touchdown at 4.20 local time (4.50 IST). He then took a chopper to proceed to Sharif�s Raiwind palatial residence on the outskirts of Lahore.
�Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,� tweeted Modi, who was on his first to Pakistan, as he wound up his visit to Afghanistan.
�Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif & wished him on his birthday,� Modi added in another tweet. Sharif turned 66 today.
The visit came more than two weeks after Modi and Sharif had an unscheduled meeting at the climate change talks in Paris.
The agenda of the meeting is not known, but the two leaders are expected to discuss major issues which have rocked ties between the two countries.
The relations between India and Pakistan have witnessed some positive developments after a chill for several months. The two countries recently decided to launch a comprehensive dialogue after the Modi-Sharif meet in Paris.
�That�s like a statesman,� External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted about the surprise visit by Modi. �One should have such relations with the neighbours,� she added.
The last visit to Pakistan by an Indian Prime Minister was in 2004 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose 91st birthday fell today, and who is credited with bringing about a thaw in the relations with Islamabad.
Pakistani authorities put security on high alert in Lahore, especially around the airport area, following the announcement of Modi�s brief visit to the eastern city.
A heavy contingent of police and Pakistan Rangers have reached the Allama Iqbal International Airport and taken charge of the security.
�Security in Lahore has been put on high alert,� a senior police official told PTI. He said police have also been deployed in the adjoining areas of the airport.
A PM House spokesman here said the Indian Premier would stay in Lahore for about two hours.
A PML-N source told PTI that Sharif had invited Modi to attend the marriage of his granddaughter, Mehrun Nisa, which is taking place today at Sharif�s Raiwind palatial residence.
�I cannot confirm, but there are chances that Modi goes to Raiwind and holds a meeting with PM Sharif at his residence,� he said. � PTI