Amid tension, Nawaz Modi likely to meet in Astana


ISLAMABAD, June 4 (TNS): Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi could meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana (on June 8-9) notwithstanding bilateral tensions.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit, last week, gave hint that meeting of two prime ministers could not be ruled out as the dialogue between Pakistan and India was the only way to move forward for resolution of long-standing issues as there was always a room for diplomacy.

In an interview with an Indian TV Channel when asked as if Pakistan was making effort to have any dialogue with Indian prime minister in Astana next week, Basit said Pakistan believed in dialogue.

When asked if he was seeing any meeting around between the two leadership, he said, “Why not? In diplomacy, always leave the door ajar. It is never shut down firmly. I am always optimistic about this relationship. Frankly speaking, you cannot live in hostility indefinitely or forever.”

Sources said that China and Russia to mediate to ease tension between nuclear armed countries for a better cooperation among SCO states as both Pakistan and India all set to become full members to the Beijing-backed Organisation and it will be formalised at the political and security grouping’s summit in Kazakhstan next week.

It reported that both countries were admitted to the SCO on the condition that they would work together to improve bilateral ties as well as promote the interest of the organisation.

That was one of the main reasons that both Prime Minister Sharif and Modi met in Ufa, Russia, at the sidelines of SCO summit in 2015, it said.

It is “very much possible”, a senior Pakistani official said when asked about the possibility of a meeting between Sharif and Modi at the margins of the SCO summit in Astana in June.

Sources said that Pakistan did not want the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court, to undermine the overall bilateral engagement process with India.

The upcoming SCO’s summit is highly significant in the background of the Belt and Road’s initiative that was a major regional connectivity plan to achieve common goals of economic development and prosperity. The SCO services as a big hope for a better future, the analysts said.

They added that Pakistan’s presence in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan, beginning on Thursday will be a source of strength to boost regional peace and security.

“Pakistan is going to become a full member of the SCO and it is most encouraging that India will also have the same position. Both the countries could work together on their common agenda rooting out terrorism and develop friendly cooperative partnership to promote socio-economic interest of their people”, reports Chinese media.

Pakistan has received world’s wide appreciation in the recent years for its commitment and sacrifices to maintain peace and stability in the region, it added.