The much anticipated meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif has begun in Ufa. The two leaders are holding bilateral talks on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Ufa, Russia. Both India and Pakistan will later be participating in the SCO summit in the esteemed capacity of ‘Observers’.
The two shook hands and posed for photographers before settling down for delegation-level talks early on Friday.
Indian delegation included National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar while Sartaj Aziz, Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs and national security, was in the Pakistani delegation.
Setting the tone for the meeting, Modi and Sharif had on Thursday night exchanged pleasantries and chatted briefly when they came face-to-face at a dinner hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for leaders of five BRICS countries and 10 SCO nations here.
The bilateral talks between the two leaders have generated considerable excitement as the world leaders are keenly waiting for the outcome. The US authorities too have welcomed the move of two Prime Ministers holding the delegation-level talks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to raise the issue of terror in the meeting with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif apart from other keys issues concerning the two neighbour nations.
Off late, some leaders in both India and Pakistan have been embroiled in sharp exchange of remarks, especially after the Indian army’s counter-insurgency operation in north-eastern border along Myanmar.
However, both PM Modi and Pakistani PM Sharif recently made goodwill gestures to improve bilateral ties. The Government of India released 88 Pakistan fishermen, while the Pakistan side reciprocated by releasing 111 Indian fishermen.
PM Modi also exchanged greetings with Nawaz Sharif over the telephone in the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan.
The two had also met in Kathmandu at the SAARC Summit in November 2014 where they did not have a bilateral meeting.
(With inputs from PTI)