Ufa: Will India and Pakistan, look beyond the bitterness of past couple of months and start a new chapter of cooperation in diplomatic ties was the big focus of the Modi-Sharif meeting, which happened at Ufa, in sidelines of SCO summit. According to reports, Prime Minister Modi raised India’s concerns on terror and the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
The joint statement issued after the meeting condemns terrorism in all forms. It says that NSA’s of two countries will discuss all outstanding issues in New Delhi. PM Modi also accepted Nawaz Sharif’s invitation to visit Pakistan in 2016 for SAARC summit.
A significant development which emerged out of the meeting is that both sides agreed to expedite the trial relating to 2008 Mumbai attack, an issue India has raised multiple times in the past.
The meeting between the Prime Ministers of both countries came a day after Pakistani troops had fired at a Border Security Force forward post in Kashmir, killing a jawan. This was the second such incident in the past week.
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Some other key points where the two countries agreed upon are:
A routemap of meetings between representatives of two countries have been decided:
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A very short joint statement has been issued by the Foreign Secretaries of both India and Pakistan. The statement says that both leaders have condemned terror in all its front and are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues between the two countries.
The two countries also decided to expedite the trials relating to Mumbai terror attack.
A big takeaway from the meeting is that talks between India and Pakistan will now continue in the NSA level- and it will be held in New Delhi.
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Modi-Sharif meeing ends after nearly an hour. Statements from respective foreign secretaries are likely to be issued soon but there is no clarity if there would be a joint statement.
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The two leaders after posing for photo-ops have got down to business with their respective delegations.
Indian delegation includes NSA Ajit Doval known for his tough stand on terror and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Sartaj Aziz, Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs and national security is accompanying Nawaz Sharif in this meeting among others.
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Congress questions Modi govt’s change in Pakistan policy
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USA has welcomed the meeting between Indian and Pakistan Prime Minister. An US Spokesperson has said that the country welcomes any move to reduce tension between the two South Asian neighbours.
Responding to a question, state department spokesperson Kirby said both the leaders want peace; and that’s certainly what the US wants as well. “There’s an awful lot of kids living in that part of the world who I think everybody wants to make sure they have a better future. I think that’s what we would hope the leaders in both countries are also trying to pursue. But these are issues that we want to see them solve bilaterally,” Kirby said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Ufa, Russia on Friday.
Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup had taken to twitter on Thursday to share the information. “It is confirmed. PM @narendramodi and PM Nawaz Sharif will have a bilateral meeting in Ufa tomorrow at 9.15 am on sidelines of SCO Summit,” he had posted.
According to reports, Prime Minister Modi will, during the talks, strongly raise India’s concerns on terror and the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhavi with Pakistan. The meeting between the Prime Ministers of both countries comes a day after Pakistani troops had fired at a Border Security Force forward post in Kashmir, killing a jawan. This was the second such incident in the past week.
Setting the tone for Friday’s formal meeting, Modi and Sharif on Thursday night exchanged pleasantries and chatted briefly when they came face-to-face at a dinner hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for leaders of five BRICS countries and 10 SCO nations here.
The two leaders, who are here to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, are expected to discuss the status of the bilateral ties and the future direction.
Officials said the two leaders would be reviewing the relationship and all issues could be on the table. “Terrorism for India is a major concern,” an official said, indicating that the issue could be taken up by Modi at tomorrow’s meeting.
In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said bilateral issues of importance will be discussed in the Modi-Sharif meeting. “India has proposed a meeting and Pakistan has positively responded to it,” the spokesman said.
Indian officials, while insisting that expectations should not be raised on tomorrow’s meeting, likened India- Pakistan relations to a cricket match. “You never know how the match will progress till it ends,” a senior official said.
The official was commenting while contending that there have been positive gestures in India-Pakistan relations in the recent months, like Modi calling up Sharif to greet him on Ramzan which was followed by release of fishermen by both the countries.
Earlier, Pakistani navy evacuated some Indians from war-torn Yemen while India evacuated some Pakistanis from quake-hit Nepal, he pointed out.
When pointed out that in between Pakistan was angry at some remarks made by Modi in Bangladesh with regard to Pakistan, the official said, “sometimes a cricket match is disrupted by rains.” Modi and Sharif were last together in Kathmandu in November last for the SAARC Summit but they did not have a bilateral meeting because of acrimony between the two countries at that time.
With Agency inputs