PARIS: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Monday exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the 21st UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Modi approached Sharif and had a brief chat with him, said a statement from the PM Office.

"Both appeared in a friendly mood and the Indian PM left the meeting with a warm handshake with the Pakistani PM," the statement added.

Diplomatic observers at the summit say there was great warmth between the two leaders. Details of the conversation were not immediately known, but government officials described it as a "courtesy meeting."

Nawaz, Modi exchange pleasantries at UN Climate Change Confere...

Nawaz, Modi exchange pleasantries at UN Climate Change Conference in Paris: PM Office https://www.dawn.com/news/1223309/

Posted by dawn.com on Monday, November 30, 2015

The brief meeting between the two heads comes amidst heightened tensions between the rivals countries, including cross-border violations and cancelled talks.

Earlier this year, the much-hyped security adviser-level talks between the two countries were cancelled after India insisted Kashmir should not be included on the agenda, with Pakistan maintaining it will not accept any pre-conditions.

Both countries blame the other of promoting terror in the other's territory. India accuses Pakistan of not doing enough to tackle extremists planning attacks on its territory.

Pakistan, on the other hand, says Indian spy agency – RAW – is supporting extremist elements in Pakistan, especially in the restive province of Balochistan.

This has also led to souring cricketing ties, with an Indo-Pak cricket series scheduled for December this year in doldrums.

India has rejected Pakistan's offer to play in the UAE, while Pakistan says it will not play the series in India after several Pakistani nationals were threatened by Indian right-wing political party, Shiv Sena.

Nawaz and Modi last met on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Russia, where the Indian premier accepted Nawaz's invitation to Pakistan for the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit in 2016.

Media reactions

Sections of foreign media, including Indian, presented interesting accounts of the brief meeting between Sharif and Modi.

The Wall Street Journal blog described the meeting as '...Modi gets upper hand over Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif...' because of the Indian premier's "double handshake."

NDTV went with a clever 'climate change' inuendo: 'Climate change' in Paris? PM Narendra Modi-Nawaz Sharif handshake sparks buzz.'

The Indian Express however played down the meeting, making it seem a coincident: Narendra Modi bumps into Nawaz Sharif at UN climate summit in Paris.

The Hindu called it a 'brief surprise meeting' between the two premiers, adding that it may help ease tensions – including cricketing ties.

French president, UN chief receive PM Nawaz

Earlier today, President of France Francois Hollande and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon received Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when he arrived at La Bourget on Monday to attend the opening ceremony of the 21st UN Climate Change Conference.

Around 147 leaders from across the world including the Presidents of US, China and Russia are attending the major UN climate change conference to reach a global deal for reducing greenhouse carbon omissions.

Prime Minister Sharif is due to deliver speech at the leaders event later in evening besides holding some bilateral meetings on the sidelines.

Nawaz Sharif will address conference to highlight Pakistan's efforts in tackling challenge of climate change.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had ealrier said Pakistan is ready to contribute to the global efforts to tackle the climate change issues.

He was talking to newsmen in Paris where he will represent Pakistan at the UN Climate Change Conference beginning on Monday.

The Prime Minister said the developed countries have more responsibility in this respect.

To a question, he said Pakistan will not let come any hurdle in its development process.

On the sidelines of the conference, he will hold separate meetings with world leaders, including French President President Francois Hollande. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also expected to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.