No meeting is scheduled between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan's Imran Khan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO summit in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, the Foreign Ministry clarified today. PM Modi will attend the SCO summit on June 13-14.
"To the best of my knowledge, no meeting is being arranged between Prime Minister Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the SCO meet," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said today.
Last month, sources said no decision had been taken on a meeting between the two leaders in Bishkek. If the two prime ministers do meet, however, India will convey the same red lines of terror to Pakistan, sources had said, adding India’s red lines on talks and terror have not changed.
Over the last few years, India has refused any initiative for talks, contending that cross-border terror has to stop before talks can begin.
However, talks about a possible meeting between the two prime ministers started gaining momentum after Imran Khan called PM Modi to congratulate him for his landslide victory in the general elections. The foreign ministry said PM Modi had thanked Imran Khan for his phone call and greetings.
Relations with Pakistan - wobbling since the terror strike at Uri in 2016 - took a nosedive after a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14. Days later, India conducted air-strikes on a Jaish camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26. The Pakistan Air Force struck back, targeting civilian and military installations in India and captured Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.
In April, Imran Khan was quoted as saying that he saw a better chance of peace talks with India if PM Modi’s BJP won the elections. The cricketer-turned-politician had said if the next government in India were led by the Congress party, it might be "too scared" to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir, fearing a backlash.
The BJP swept the crucial national elections and decimated the Congress by winning 303 seats alone, surpassing its massive 282 seat win of 2014.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India was granted the membership of the SCO along with Pakistan in 2017.