No meeting planned between India, Pakistan PMs at regional summit: India foreign ministry

Published June 6, 2019
PM Imran Khan and Indian premier Narendra Modi are scheduled to attend Shanghai Cooperation Organization. — AFP/File
PM Imran Khan and Indian premier Narendra Modi are scheduled to attend Shanghai Cooperation Organization. — AFP/File

There is no bilateral meeting planned between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) next week, India's foreign ministry spokesman Rajeev Kumar said on Thursday.

India's Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan are both scheduled to attend a meeting of the regional summit that is to take place in Kyrgyzstan on June 13-14.

Last month, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had an unscheduled and informal meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of SCO meeting of foreign ministers in Bishkek.

It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two foreign ministers and the highest-level interaction since the post-Pulwama standoff, which had ended through intervention of foreign intermediaries.

According to the Indian media, Islamabad made a rare exception for Swaraj to fly directly through Pakistani airspace to attend the SCO meeting.

Pakistan had closed its airspace for flights to and from India on Feb 26 after the Balakot standoff.

“The Indian government had requested us to allow Ms Swaraj to fly over Pakistan to avoid the longer route, and we gave them permission,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal told The Hindu.

“Finding a new way [to resume dialogue] is also essential for them [India],” Qureshi had said a week later. “If he [Modi] wants development of this region [...] the only way is to sit with Pakistan to find a solution.”

“It is in the interest of Pakistan to defuse tensions...Pakistan did not create tension. Now the entire world agrees that Pakistan had no role in the Pulwama incident,” Qureshi said, referring to the attack on a convoy of the Indian army in occupied Kashmir in February that left over 40 soldiers dead.

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