Only waves and smiles, no handshakes for Modi, Sharif at UN

Days of speculation ended with a wave across a table.

Only waves and smiles, no handshakes for Modi, Sharif at UN

New York: It seems that the much-reported warmth and vibrancy between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif has vanished now. As bilateral ties between Indian and Pakistan continue to remain tense, waving at each other was all that Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart did as they attended the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session on Monday.

While participating in the Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping, which was hosted by US President Barack Obama, Modi walked into the conference hall first. Sharif followed a few minutes later and waved at Modi. The Indian Prime Minister waved back and smiled.

Then, there was a pause for a few seconds, after which Modi waved again and Sharif acknowledged and smiled.

Ahead of the UN peacekeeping summit, there was enough speculations as to whether the two leaders will meet as both stayed at the New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said that there is no bilateral meeting planned between PM Modi and his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the UNGA session.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has asked Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take action against terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and the dreaded Afghan-based Haqqani network.

Kerry commended Sharif's pledge to not distinguish between terrorist groups and "urged additional action against the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba," State Department spokesman John Kirby said following the two leaders' meeting here on sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

The banned LeT terrorist group had carried out the audacious 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.

The Haqqani network, founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, has been blamed for the Indian embassy bombing in Kabul in 2008 that left 58 people dead, a 2011 attack on the US embassy in Kabul, and several big truck bombing attempts in Afghanistan. It was designated as a terrorist organisation by the US in September 2012.  

(With agency inputs)

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