Prime Minister Narendra Modi may meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan in June, according to a Pakistani media report. It adds that the meeting would take place even as India and Pakistan are at loggerheads over the death sentence awarded to an Indian citizen and former navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by the Pakistani military
To authenticate the claim, Pakistan-based The Express Tribune has quoted “diplomatic sources” as saying that “influential” member countries of the SCO want India and Pakistan to “re-engage” so that the next meeting of the organisation can take place in a “conducive” environment.
Other influential members of SCO are Russia, China and some central Asian countries including Kazakhstan. Both India and Pakistan would be formally admitted to the SCO during the 2017 summit in Astana.
According to the report, both India and Pakistan were admitted to the SCO on the condition that the neighboring countries would improve their bilateral ties and work to promote the interests of the SCO.
About the possibility of Modi-Nawaz meeting, a senior Pakistani official told The Express Tribune: “That’s very much possible.” The official even said that Pakistan did not want to “undermine” the bilateral engagement with New Delhi due to the death sentence to Jadhav.
A Pakistani military court granted death sentence to Jadhav on April 10 for allegedly indulging in “espionage and sabotage” activities against Pakistan. Jadhav’s trial was carried out with utmost secrecy and even the proceedings of the case against Jadhav have not been made public. India claims that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran and framed by the ISI and the country would go to “any extent” to save its “son”.
The tension between India and Pakistan has also escalated in the last few months due to the latter’s apparent involvement in promoting separatism and terrorism in Kashmir.
No such statements about the possible Modi-Sharif meet has come from Indian officials.