Pakistan is insisting that India extend an invitation for a meeting between prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month.
The two leaders will be in New York at the same time and it is learnt that the US is also keen on a meeting between the two prime ministers. But Pakistani sources said if a meeting was to take place, the invitation should come from the Indian side.
“India, the host, had cancelled the meeting between the two national security advisers on August 23. It is up to the Indians to extend an invitation to for a meeting between the two prime ministers,” a Pakistani official source told HT.
There was no immediate response from the Indian side to Pakistan’s demand for New Delhi extending an invitation.
“India went ahead and hosted talks between the DGs of BSF and Pakistan Rangers. We attended it and there were serious discussions on issues,” the Pakistani source said. “Suffice to say, the ball is now in India’s court. It is up to India to decide whether an invitation should be extended or not.”
Since the two leaders will be at the same place — Pakistani sources said Sharif could be in New York from September 23 — a meeting could be a possibility.
A meeting need not always mean the two sides come out with a statement at the end as the two leaders could meet and exchange a few thoughts, a source well-versed in India-Pakistan ties said.
“There were occasions when foreign ministers of the two sides had brief and significant meetings on the sidelines of multilateral forums, and many of them were kept off the media radar too,” the same source said.
Sharif attending Modi’s inaugural last year raised hopes of a new chapter in the relationship but the neighbours have been struggling to address the mutual distrust that prevails.
India called off foreign secretary-level talks last year after the Pakistani envoy hosted Hurriyat leaders. India took the lead and the two prime ministers met in the Russian city of Ufa in July where they agreed to hold national security adviser-level talks.
The thorny issue of Pakistan insisting on holding a meeting with Hurriyat leaders again led to cancellation of those talks planned for last month.