Modi, Nawaz Sharif meet briefly at CoP 21

Paris, Nov 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a brief meeting with Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif as world leaders converged here for the Conference of Parties (CoP) climate summit that got underway.

“PM @narendramodi meets PM Nawaz Sharif at COP 21 in Paris,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted along with a picture of the two leaders shaking hands.

The two leaders were then seen sitting on the same sofa and engaging in an animated discussion for a brief while.

This was the first meeting between the two leaders since they met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Ufa, Russia, in July this year. After the meeting, they directed their foreign secretaries to initiate the process of renewal of talks, including meetings between the national security advisors of the two countries.

However, talks between Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaz Aziz scheduled to be held in New Delhi in August this year were cancelled after the Pakistan high commission in India insisted on inviting Hurriyat leaders for a reception in honour of Aziz.

On Saturday, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Valletta, Malta, Sharif told British Premier David Cameron during a bilateral meeting that Islamabad was ready for unconditional talks with New Delhi.

The Paris meeting has now again sparked hopes of renewal of the dialogue process between the two sides.

Monday’s meeting also comes at a time when the Indian cricket board is awaiting permission from the government to hold a bilateral cricket series with Pakistan at the neutral venue of Sri Lanka tentatively scheduled for mid-December.

Sharif has already given his permission to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the series.


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