It took nearly seventeen months for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to meet, after which both leaders exchanged greetings. Last time they met, Narendra Modi landed in Lahore in an unscheduled meeting. As per Indian Express report, even as this was the fifth meeting between the two, there were no substantive talks.
As per the report, Modi inquired on the health of his counterpart during the brief interaction, after both leaders crossed each other in Astana for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. Last year in May, both leaders had spoken before the Pakistan prime minister was wheeled in for cardiac surgery in London. Later that year, Modi also wish him for Eid and a speedy recovery from surgery during a telephonic conversation.
Before prime minister’s Lahore visit, both leaders had also met in Paris, on the sidelines of the Climate Change summit in November 2015. The short meeting had set the ball rolling for talks between the National Security Advisors, which saw resumption of comprehensive bilateral dialogue process, which was followed by by the Pathankot terror attack in January last year.
Even as both leaders exchanged pleasantries on Thursday, entire day was plagued with the question on whether both leaders will hold formal talks. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had earlier reiterated that there was no request for a meeting from either side.
PM Narendra Modi landed at the Astana airport yesterday and wet straight to meet Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been in power for almost three decades now. Just before he landed at Akorda, Indian officials saw Nawaz Sharif leaving Akorda.
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Indian media, which got wind that Sharif was putting up Ramada Plaza hotel rushed there. The Pakistani embassy had put him a small stall of orange juice for the thirsty. Journalists from both India and Pakistan had gathered there. Upon seeking him , the Indian media shouted three questionsat him. “Will you be meeting PM Modi”? , which the Pakistani PM did not respond to, but only smiled and waved. “Will Pakistan stop exporting terror?” he dis not respond again, said Indian Express.