Modi, Sharif to meet at Ufa?

Tashkent (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi could meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Friday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Ufa in Russia, media reports said.

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Though India’s external affairs ministry last week refused to say anything on the matter, a likely meeting between the two leaders was being contemplated during the SCO summit for many months.

Both India and Pakistan are observers of the China-led grouping and have applied to become full members. The 15th SCO summit in Ufa is likely to see the two neighbours being absorbed as full members.

With both Modi and Sharif to attend the multi-lateral event, a passing meeting between the two cannot be ruled out as both leaders will be in the same room. But a full-fledged “pull-aside” meeting on the sidelines is also very likely.

Ties between India and Pakistan have soured over the past few months, especially over the border firings and Islamabad’s raising the Kashmir issue at the UN and other fora.

However, Modi did call up Sharif to greet him for Ramadan. The two countries also helped evacuate each other’s nationals from Yemen.

The Pakistani media has also been agog on a likely meeting between Modi and Sharif, whose first interaction in May last year began on a promising note, but matters then went downhill in the wake of continuing border firings and the Kashmir issue.


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