modi in pakistan
The meeting between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan slated for Friday, 15 January 2016, will be rescheduled. In picture: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, at Raiwind, in Pakistan on December 25, 2015.pib.nic.in

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked hand in hand with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the latter's birthday, the US looked on with approval at this gesture of the Indian leader. 

A state spokesperson from Washington said that the US welcomed Modi's surprise visit to Pakistan and improved ties would benefit the whole region.

UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon has also lauded the gesture as a ray of hope that would help strengthen bilateral ties, said a UN spokesperson.

Meanwhile the US media covered the visit as a welcome move that could be seen as a "potential sign of thawing" between the two countries. A thought that found resonance in various publications like Time, The Wall Street Journal, among others.

The 25 December visit was announced by the prime minister on Twitter on Friday morning. It seems to have stemmed out of a conversation between the two leaders when Modi called Sharif to wish him on his 66th birthday.

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup, who was also part of the tour, tweeted about the events of the day.

"In a first, both PMs flew together in a chopper to Raiwind, home of PM Nawaz Sharif," he said.

"The two leaders decided to take forward the dialogue process ... It was agreed that foreign secretaries will meet in Islamabad next month," Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chowdhury told TOI.

In India, however, there has been a mixed response to Modi's out-of-the-box diplomacy.