Pakistan on Tuesday sought to put the ball in India's court for talks between the Prime Ministers of the two countries amidst strong indications of an interaction on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on his arrival here, said, "cancellation of talks was New Delhi's unilateral decision," and the "ball is now in India's court for talks between both the countries."
When asked about the possibility of talks between the two countries, Sharif said the question should be put to his Indian counterpart. India had cancelled foreign secretary-level talks, he said.
On the eve of the summit of the eight-nation regional bloc, diplomatic sources here said it was unlikely that Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not meet given that they will be at the same conference and attend the retreat together on Thursday.
Significantly, Modi's official itinerary did not mention any structured meeting with Sharif and only gave details of his meetings with other SAARC heads of the government, including Presidents of Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives as also Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and Bhutan. Indian officials were tight-lipped on whether there will be a meeting between Modi and Sharif.
Pakistan Prime Minister's advisor on foreign affairs and sational security Sartaj Aziz, when asked repeatedly, did not give any direct answer but only said Sharif will meet leaders of the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
"Two or three more bilateral meetings have been fixed, details of which will be announced in due course," he added. Ahead of his visit, Modi said development of close relations with neighbours was a key priority for his government and he was looking forward to holding talks with other South Asian heads of state and government on the margins of the summit.