Nawaz, Modi exchange greetings in Kazakhstan ahead of SCO Summit

Nawaz, Modi exchange greetings in Kazakhstan ahead of SCO Summit

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Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz in Lahore in 2015. Photo: AFP

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi exchanged pleasantries in Astana, Kazakhstan on Thursday evening ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit, an India Today report said.

Since this was the first meeting between the two leaders following Sharif’s heart surgery last year, Modi enquired about the premier’s health, as well as asking him about his mother and family, the report said.

This was also their first meeting since 2015 when the Indian prime minister made a brief visit to Lahore.

During his brief stop in Pakistan, Modi attended Nawaz’s granddaughter’s wedding after which he had held a brief meeting with his Pakistani counterpart.

However, India on Monday denied any possibility of a meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the SCO summit, according to a Hindustan Times report.

“No meeting is scheduled either from their side or from our side,” India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had said, asserting that “talks and terror can not go together”.

Pakistan and India are set to become full members of the SCO at the summit being held in Astana.

Tense relations

The informal meeting between the two leaders comes as relations between the two South Asian neighbours have been strained due to Line of Control (LoC) ceasefire violations and the Kulbushan Jadhav case.

Following the Uri army base attack in September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up a drive to ‘isolate’ Pakistan diplomatically.

In the days following the attack, India claimed to have conducted a cross-border ‘surgical strike’ against ‘launch pads of terror’ in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan strongly rejected.

Pakistan maintains that India has been attempting to divert the world’s attention away from atrocities committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.

Also Read: Tackling terrorism: China defends Pakistan ahead of SCO summit

Tensions between the two countries soared recently as India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to secure consular access for Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in Pakistan over his involvement in espionage and terrorism.

In a hearing of the case on May 18, a 10-member bench at The Hague restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav, who India claims is a retired naval officer.

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