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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Pakistan sets the stage for talks next month

With a surprise visit to Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday breathed new life into a long troubled relationship.

Weeks before the reopening of high-level talks between the nuclear-armed rivals, Modi became the first Indian premier in more than a decade to set foot in Pakistan. When he and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif embraced at the airport in the eastern city of Lahore, it immediately set tongues wagging in both countries.

The feel-good moment belied the tensions between the two countries that have worsened in the 19 months since Modi came to power. His conservative government signaled a more muscular Indian foreign policy, but it thus far had...