ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will meet on the fringes of a regional summit in Russia this week.
A senior government official confirmed to The Express Tribune that the meeting between the two leaders has been scheduled for July 10. Nawaz and Modi will be in the Russian city of Ufa to attend the Shangai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilluah said both sides had been in contact with each other for the bilateral meeting. However, he said, he could not confirm the meeting as yet.
The meeting between Nawaz and Modi comes against the backdrop of escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Recently, the relations got strained due to a series of controversial statements made by India’s top political leadership.
Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Bangladesh admitted that his country played a part in the breakup of Pakistan in 1971. The Indian defence minister threatened to use terrorists to ‘neutralise terrorists’ while a junior minister warned Pakistan of ‘surgical strikes.’
The official said the two prime ministers are expected to review the current situation and look into the possibility of some kind of engagement between the two neighbours. Pakistan, however, is not hopeful of any major breakthrough given the track record of the Modi administration, said another official.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2015.