The 18th Saarc summit will get underway in Kathmandu on Wednesday but the air is still unclear about a possible meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the meet.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj who landed in Kathmandu to take part in Tuesday’s meeting of Saarc council of ministers gave no clue on whether any meeting is in the offing.
“Wait till Tuesday for this issue,” was her brief reply to media persons at the Tribhuban International Airport on a query about a possible meeting between Modi and Sharif.
Pakistan’s advisor to the prime minister on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz indicated that his country would consider a meeting if the Indian side took the initiative.
“(There are) no plans yet. If she (Swaraj) requests, then I will,” Aziz said.
Aziz will represent Pakistan in Tuesday’s meeting of Saarc council of ministers. Meanwhile Nepal’s foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey claimed that his country could play a role in thawing relations between the two neighbours.
“We will do our bit to ensure that a meeting takes place between Indian and Pakistani leaders. Our effort will be to provide a conducive environment for such an interaction,” he told News 24, a Nepali television channel.
Replying to a query on cancellation of Modi’s proposed trip to Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita, Swaraj said that it would be wrong to say that the visit was cancelled.
“The Prime Minister wanted to come to Janakpur, Lumbini and Muktinath and had expressed his desire to visit these places during his last trip but he couldn’t include it in his itinerary this time because of the parliament session,” she said, adding that the prime minister would surely pay a visit to the popular religious town during his next visit.