The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan has not been planned at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Kyrgyzstan’s Capital Bishkek. The annual summit will be held on June 13 and 14.
“To the best of my knowledge, there is no bilateral meeting being planned between the prime minister and PM of Pakistan on the sidelines of the SCO summit,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters. Imran Khan had congratulated Narendra Modi last month after his landslide victory in General Elections, and said he looked forward to working with Modi for the progress of South Asia.
Rumours of the bilateral meeting started after Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, who has also been the country’s envoy to India, reached New Delhi late on Tuesday on a private visit. Raveesh Kumar said no official meetings have been planned during Mahmood’s three-day visit to the country.
The spokesperson pointed out that former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi did not meet last month in Bishkek during a summit of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s member countries.
“We have clarified before that there was no meeting in Bishkek between Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mehmood Quireshi,” Kumar said. “No informal meeting was held. The photograph was from a holding room where the foreign ministers were sitting.”
Asked about Pakistani authorities’ decision to stop Jammat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed from leading Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at Lahore’s Qaddafi stadium on Wednesday, Kumar said Islamabad needs to take concrete steps against terrorists instead of resorting to symbolism.
The ministry spokesperson said India had asked Pakistan for clarifications regarding the Kartarpur corridor project. In November 2018, New Delhi and Islamabad laid the foundation stone for the project, which will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Punjab with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Pakistan’s Narowal district. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, died in Kartarpur in 1539. The corridor will allow Indian Sikh devotees to travel without visas to the pilgrimage site.