Sharif-Modi meet an ice-breaker: Pakistani official

Paris, Dec 1 (IANS) The brief meeting here between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan was “more of an ice-breaker than anything else”, a Pakistani official said in remarks published on Tuesday.

The meeting took place on Monday when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to the lounge for visiting leaders and saw his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif seated there, the Dawn quoted a diplomatic source as saying.

Modi walked up to him, and the two leaders warmly shook hands and sat next to each other and briefly chatted. No official delegates were present during the meeting.

This happened on the sidelines of a climate summit in Paris. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since they last met in Ufa, Russia, in July.

Even as Indian external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said the meeting, which lasted just about two minutes, was only an “exchange of courtesies”, Sharif said they had “good” talks.

Sharif was also quoted as saying that “doors of dialogue (with India) should open”.

The Dawn quoted an official from the Pakistani delegation as saying that the Modi-Sharif meeting was more of an ice-breaker than anything else.

Sharif later met Shakeel Ramay, a member of the Pakistani delegation from Sustainable Development Policy Institute, a think-tank in Islamabad, and told him that Modi was the one who approached him.

“It was a cordial chat, (lasted) less than two minutes long and nothing of significance was discussed,” the Dawn said.

The two leaders last met on July 10 on the sidelines of SCO summit in the Russian city of Ufa. But this did not lead to any breakthrough.

Sharif and Modi were together in New York during the UN General Assembly session in September but only got to wave at each other and exchange smiles.

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