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Published On: Fri, Jun 14th, 2019

PM Narendra Modi, Imran Khan exchange pleasantries in Bishkek

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ImranModi-kKAD--621x414@LiveMintNEW DELHI :Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Imran Khan exchanged pleasantries on Day 2 of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO summit in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek, sources said this evening.
The pleasantries were “usual” in nature and were exchanged when the two prime ministers were in the Leaders’ Lounge, sources added.This was the first such interaction between the two leaders amidst the chill in bilateral relations, triggered by the terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in February in which 40 soldiers died.
The latest development could be seen as a possible thaw in the frosty ties between India-Pakistan as tensions escalated between the two countries since the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 earlier this year.
At the summit, Modi and Khan sat across the table at a dinner at the Frunze restaurant, but there was no exchange of pleasantries. Even at the gala concert after the dinner at the Kyrgyz National Philharmonic, the two leaders sat in the front row but were separated by at least seven leaders in between.
Before this, in June 2017, more than 17 months after Modi met Sharif in Lahore, the two had met in the Leaders’ Lounge at the opera house in Astana where they had gone for the SCO summit to watch a cultural performance — just like today.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khanexchanged usual pleasantries in the Leaders’ Lounge at SCO Summit in Bishkek on Friday, officials from both the sides have told The Indian Express.
Confirming the development, Pakistan Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said both the leaders shook hands with each other. When asked how much they spoke to each other, Qureshi said, “I didn’t have a stopwatch”.
The latest development could be seen as a possible thaw in the frosty ties between India-Pakistan as tensions escalated between the two countries since the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 earlier this year.
At the summit, Modi and Khan sat across the table at a dinner at the Frunze restaurant, but there was no exchange of pleasantries. Even at the gala concert after the dinner at the Kyrgyz National Philharmonic, the two leaders sat in the front row but were separated by at least seven leaders in between.
Before landing in Bishkek, Khan had told Russian news agency Sputnik that Pakistan’s relationship with India is probably at its “lowest point”, and hoped Modi will use his “big mandate” to resolve all differences, including the Kashmir issue.
While addressing at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on Friday, PM Modi said that nations supporting terrorism must be isolated. Modi, in the presence of Khan, said that countries supporting or funding terrorism must be held “accountable”.

Earlier, there were speculations regarding the possibility of a “pull-aside” meeting between the leaders. What made the chances of a possible meeting between both the leaders even more remote was PM Modi’s flight avoiding Pakistan airspace while flying to SCO summit on Thursday.
On Thursday, the two leaders had not exchanged pleasantries during the dinner hosted by Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov for the leaders attending the SCO summit.

Earlier today, in a stern message directed at Pakistan, PM Modi said countries sponsoring, aiding and supporting terrorism must be held accountable. Countries will have to come out of their narrow purview to unite against terrorism to fight it, PM Modi said in the presence of Imran Khan.
During his bilateral meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, PM Modi had reiterated India’s stand that Pakistan should take concrete action against terror before talks can resume. China is Pakistan’s “all-weather” ally.
Before PM Modi left for Bishkek, India had ruled out any bilateral meeting with Pakistan. India has said cross-border terror must stop and Pakistan must take action against terror groups operating from its soil before dialogues can begin.
Before landing in Bishkek, Khan had told Russian news agency Sputnik that Pakistan’s relationship with India is probably at its “lowest point”, and hoped Modi will use his “big mandate” to resolve all differences, including the Kashmir issue.
Earlier, there were speculations regarding the possibility of a “pull-aside” meeting between the leaders. What made the chances of a possible meeting between both the leaders even more remote was PM Modi’s flight avoiding Pakistan airspace while flying to SCO summit on Thursday.
The pleasantries were “usual” in nature and were exchanged when the two prime ministers were in the Leaders’ Lounge, sources added.This was the first such interaction between the two leaders amidst the chill in bilateral relations, triggered by the terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in February in which 40 soldiers died.
On Thursday, the two leaders had not exchanged pleasantries during the dinner hosted by Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov for the leaders attending the SCO summit.

Earlier today, in a stern message directed at Pakistan, PM Modi said countries sponsoring, aiding and supporting terrorism must be held accountable. Countries will have to come out of their narrow purview to unite against terrorism to fight it, PM Modi said in the presence of Imran Khan.
During his bilateral meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, PM Modi had reiterated India’s stand that Pakistan should take concrete action against terror before talks can resume. China is Pakistan’s “all-weather” ally.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS).

 

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