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Pakistan to look into possibility of Sharif, Modi meeting during Shanghai summit

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-05-2017 Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad: If India shows interest, Pakistan will look into the possibility of a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the SCO summit next month, Pakistan’s top diplomat Sartaj Aziz said on Wednesday.

“It is too early to say. We will see if they (India) expressed interest (in the meeting),” Pakistan prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser Aziz told reporters in Islamabad. He did not reject the idea when asked about the chances of a meeting between the two prime ministers on the sidelines of the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan.

Aziz said that Pakistan would look into it if India showed interest in an interaction with the Pakistani leader. Currently, there are strains in India-Pakistan ties over a range of issues including cross-border terror attacks in India and the sentencing of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav to death for alleged spying.

India and Pakistan are expected to be admitted into the six-member SCO during its next summit to be held on 8-9 June at Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

China-led SCO, which is headquartered in Beijing, focuses mostly on security related issues like counter-terrorism cooperation in Central Asia. It is comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as full members.

Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.

During its 2015 summit in Ufa, Russia, the SCO formally adopted a resolution which started the procedures to admit India and Pakistan into the grouping. With India and Pakistan’s membership, the bloc will include countries encompassing over 40% of the world’s population. PTI

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