Narendra Modi to meet Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif in Russia Friday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Friday in Ufa, Russia.
Ufa (Russia): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Friday meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa, Russia.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup took to Twitter to announce the meeting between the two leaders.
It is confirmed. PM @narendramodi and PM Nawaz Sharif will have a bilateral meeting in Ufa tomorrow at 9.15 am on sidelines of SCO Summit
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) July 9, 2015
The confirmation puts to rest speculation of a possible meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.
Meanwhile in Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said that the bilateral issues of importance will be discussed in the Modi-Sharif meeting.
"India has proposed a meeting and Pakistan has positively responded to it," the spokesman said.
Modi and Sharif had met in November last year during the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, but they did not hold any bilateral meeting.
The two had held a bilateral meeting on May 26 last year during the swearing-in of Modi. The two had exchanged gifts, the sari-shawl diplomacy, and tweets, which had given rise to hope of improvement in ties between the two rivals, both nuclear powers.
But continuing firings on the border, which claimed the lives of security personnel, and the Pakistani envoy hobnobbing with Kashmiri separatists last August saw India calling off foreign secretary-level talks at the last moment.
Ties saw a downswing after that, and Pakistan's raising the Kashmir issue at international forums did not help matters.
The release of 26/11 mastermind Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi, despite India voicing concerns, also added to New Delhi's concerns. Friday's meeting is likely to see terrorism being discussed, especially India's concern over the release of Lakhvi by a court in Pakistan.
However, Modi did call up Sharif to greet him for Ramadan. The two countries also helped evacuate each other's nationals from Yemen.
Both India and Pakistan are observers of the China-led grouping and have applied to become full members. The 15th SCO summit in Ufa is likely to see the two neighbours being absorbed as full members.
(With Agency inputs)