Possibilities there for Modi-Sharif meeting: Jaishankar

Ufa (Russia) , July 08: “Possibilities are always there,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said today on whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will meet here on the sidelines of the SCO Summit that will take place on July 10.

Jaishankar refused to confirm the meeting when asked about it at a media briefing here on Modi’s bilateral meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Sambhavna toh hoti hi hai. Lekin hai ya nahi, mai yeh keh nahi sakta (Possibilities are always there, but whether the meeting is taking place or not, I cannot say),” he said in reply to a question, amid indications that the two leaders could meet here on Friday.

He repeatedly said that if a meeting takes place, the media will be told.

Asked to comment on media reports in Pakistan that it was India which had sought a meeting between the two Prime Ministers, Jaishankar said “I don’t think it is particularly an important point… Who approached whom… Whenever there are multilateral Summits like BRICS and SCO, usually there are bilateral meetings on the sidelines.”

He maintained that he does not want to get into the issue as he could not say whether the meeting is taking place or not.

Modi and Sharif had last met in Kathmandu in November at the SAARC Summit where they did not have a bilateral meeting.

Earlier at the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan, the Prime Minister had called Sharif and extended his best wishes while stressing the need for having peaceful and bilateral ties.

During his telephonic conversation, Modi had also conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart India’s decision to release detained Pakistani fishermen on the occasion of Ramzan.

The call was seen by many as an attempt to reach out to Pakistan after leaders from both sides exchanged sharp comments after Modi’s critical remarks about Pakistan during his Bangladesh visit and in the wake of India’s military action in Myanmar.