UNITED NATIONS (Web Desk) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has expressed hope that the dialogue between Pakistan and India will be maintained and strengthened.

In a statement, the UN Secretary General welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan, saying Modi’s visit to Pakistan is in the right direction. He added he had long been encouraging both leaders of the two countries to engage in dialogue.

Modi made a surprise stopover in Pakistan on Friday to meet his counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, the first time an Indian premier has visited in over a decade.

Sharif hugged Modi after he landed at the airport at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport.

Modi was on his way home after a visit to Russia. He stopped off in the Afghanistan capital Kabul earlier on Friday.

Modi and Sharif resumed high-level contacts with a brief conversation at climate change talks in Paris late last month, part of efforts to restart a peace dialogue.