Modi, Sharif likely to meet in July

Modi, Sharif likely to meet in July

The earliest opportunity for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart M Nawaz Sharif to meet may come in July, when the two leaders are expected to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s summit at Ufa in Russia.

As the talks between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry last Tuesday brought New Delhi and Islamabad closer to resumption of the paused bilateral engagements, officials in both the capitals hinted at the possibility of a meeting between Modi and Sharif on the sidelines of any multilateral conclave in the coming months.

Sources pointed out that the SCO summits at Ufa in Russia in July could provide an opportunity for the prime ministers of India and Pakistan to meet on the sidelines.
With the SCO – a six-nation bloc perceived as a counterweight to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – set to elevate both India and Pakistan from “observers” to “members” of the organisation soon, both Modi and Sharif may attend the summit in Russia.

According to an official in New Delhi, Modi is more or less sure to travel to Ufa in the second week of July to attend the BRICS (a bloc comprising Brazil, Russia, India, Russia and South Africa) summit, which will also take place in the capital city of Russian Republic of Bashkortostan. The SCO summit will follow the meeting of the BRICS leaders at the same venue.

Sources told Deccan Herald that the prime minister might stay back at Ufa and attend the SCO summit, too, if the bloc by then made significant headway towards granting membership to India. Sharif might also attend the SCO summit as Pakistan was also expecting membership of the bloc along with India, added sources.

Officials in New Delhi, however, made it clear that a meeting in Russia would be considered, only if India and Pakistan could make substantial progress in the coming months towards resuming formal bilateral engagement.

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