Narendra Modi visits Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Raiwind, in Pakistan on Friday, 25 December, 2015.PIB

In a whirlwind visit of sorts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with his Pakistani counterpart M Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan on the latter's birthday on Friday, setting in motion a possible chain of events that could lead to restart of bilateral talks.

Modi, who was returning from Kabul on Friday after his visit and inauguration of the Afghan Parliament building, tweeted just before leaving that country that he would visit Pakistan, was looking forwards to meeting Sharif.

When Modi landed in Lahore for a two-hour visit, he was accorded a warm welcome by Sharif and his family, who are preparing for his granddaughter's wedding at their ancestral home on Raiwind. The prime minister would later say in a tweet he was touched by Sharif's gesture of receiving him in person at the Lahore airport.

Then, in a first, the two leaders flew in a helicopter to Raiwind, Sharif's ancestral home where his granddaughter's wedding will take place over the weekend. There, Modi reportedly blessed the bride-to-be, had tea with Sharif and held talks with Sharif.

Eleven members of the prime minister's delegation accompanied him to Raiwind, having reportedly been issued tourist visas that are valid for 72 hours. At least a 100 others remained at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport.

Modi was back in India by a late evening flight, seen off by Sharif at the airport, with Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeting about how it was "Breakfast in Kabul, tea in Lahore & dinner in Delhi (sic)" for the prime minister.

As the suddenness of the visit began to wear off, positive reactions began to pour in from all across the two countries, with even hardline Hurriyat leaders saying they have no objection to improved India-Pakistan ties.

The whirlwind visit is expected to have far-reaching ramifications, especially after national security advisor (NSA)-level talks between the two countries were cancelled earlier this month.

It is believed that Modi's Friday visit was set up by the bilateral NSA-level talks in Bangkok and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit to Islamabad over the past few weeks.