PM-Sharif meeting uncertain in Nepal

PM-Sharif meeting uncertain  in Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Nepal for two days later this week for the Saarc summit but it is not clear whether he would meet his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the regional congregation.

Asked whether Modi will meet Sharif in Kathmandu, the ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “The prime minister is keen to have meaningful dialogues with as many south Asian colleagues as possible. The schedule of the bilateral meetings is being finalised. It is a work in progress.”

Modi will leave for Kathmandu on the evening of November 25 to attend the summit in the next two days. The leaders will go to a retreat at Dhulikhel and return to Kathmandu for adopting the Saarc declaration following which Modi would return on November 27.

Akbaruddin said there was no proposal from Pakistan at the moment for a bilateral meeting with Modi. While confirming the participation of Sharif at the summit, Pakistan foreign office too did not say whether the Pakistan prime minister will meet his Indian counterpart during the summit.

Though he previously desired to travel to Janakpur, Lumbini and Muktinath, Modi would not visit any of these sites this time because of the paucity of time.

“Due to the prime minister’s unavoidable domestic commitments and pre-scheduled travels within the country, he will travel only to Kathmandu to attend the Saarc Summit,” Akbaruddin said. The spokesperson, however, hinted that Modi would come back to Nepal in future to visit these places.

“The prime minister deeply values the special relationship between India and Nepal. He looks forward to an early opportunity to visit Janakpur, Lumbini, Muktinath and other places in Nepal,” he said.

While India and Nepal are working together on four railway projects, bilateral agreements on transport and electricity may be signed during the prime minister’s tour.

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