Will PM Modi meet Imran Khan at Bishkek?

In 2014, the leaders of SAARC countries, including the then Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, were invited for Modi's swearing-in.

Published: 29th May 2019 12:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2019 12:28 AM   |  A+A-

PM Narendra Modi recalled a call he made to congratulate Imran Khan becoming Pakistan PM. (File | PTI)

PM Narendra Modi and Imran Khan. (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Kyrgyztan's capital Bishkek on June 14-15, where Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is also expected to be present. However, there has been no official confirmation if the two leaders are set for a meeting during the visit.

The MEA has invited Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, who is the current chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, who was the chief guest at this year's Pravasi Bhartiya Divas for the swearing-in ceremony on May 30. Heads of State from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal have also been invited; however, the MEA has been silent on any formal invitation to Pakistan so far.

Reacting to the snub by India, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, "Finding a new way to resume dialogue is also essential for them. If he wants development of this region the only way is to sit with Pakistan to find a solution.”

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"It is in the interest of Pakistan to defuse tensions... Pakistan did not create tensions," he added.

Speaking on the lack of invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for Modi's swearing-in, Qureshi said, "India's internal politics did not permit him (Modi) to extend an invitation. His entire focus during the election campaign was on Pakistan-bashing. It was unwise to expect that he can get rid of this narrative."

Qureshi added that PM Modi had congratulated Imran Khan after the latter won the general election in 2018. Khan had returned the favour by calling up Modi after the May 23 victory.

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad has extended an invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and other top dignitaries for an iftar party on June 1.

In 2014, the leaders of SAARC countries, including the then Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, were invited for Modi's swearing-in.

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