To everybody’s surprise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were seen shaking hands and holding a short meeting on Monday on the sidelines of the CoP-21 Climate Change Summit being held in Paris
The brief meeting between the Prime Ministers at the UN climate summit was hailed as a “positive development” by Pakistan state media as reported in Islamabad.
Pakistan Television (PTV) repeatedly showed footage of Modi and Sharif seated together and exchanging views. It was reported that the meeting was held in a “cordial atmosphere” which it said was a “positive and happy occasion”.
Modi and Sharif shook hands in a lobby of the Conference Centre in the French capital and then sat down on a sofa where they were seen talking animatedly.
The exact details of the talks were not known but there is expectation that it will help ease tensions between the two nations after the planned meeting of their national security advisors was cancelled in August.
Both India and Pakistan have been walking a tight rope over the past few months. Talks between both the nations have been frozen since Pakistan’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Sartaj Aziz called off the NSA-level talks in August this year. A row over the agenda of the talks had emerged. India insisted that the talks should only focus on terror and refused to entertain Kashmiri separatists as a third-party to the talks. On the other hand, Pakistan said that both the pre-conditions laid by India were unacceptable to them.
Sporting fixtures between India and Pakistan have also been called off since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008. The attacks are suspected to have been planned by militants in Pakistan. Pakistan and India have not played a full series since 2007, except for a short tour in India that the Pakistan team took in winter of 2012-13 for a limited-over series.
The brief meeting between the leaders may help to arrange a cricket series between the teams in Sri Lanka next month and participation by India in the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad coming week. But, as for the repeated instances of ceasefire violations over several months now at the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) the meeting was too short and unnoticed to make big decisions.
(With inputs from PTI)