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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi could meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana in June notwithstanding bilateral tensions, according to a media report at Islamabad.
The Express Tribune, citing diplomatic sources, said that influential countries in the SCO are pushing Pakistan and India to re-engage in order to ensure that the next summit is held in a conducive environment.
It reported that both countries were admitted to the SCO on the condition that they would work together to improve bilateral ties as well as promote the interest of the organisation.
That was one of the main reasons that both Prime Minister Sharif and Modi met in Ufa, Russia, at the sidelines of SCO summit in 2015, it said.
It is “very much possible”, a senior Pakistani official said when asked about the possibility of a meeting between Sharif and Modi at the margins of the SCO summit in Astana in June.
The official said that Pakistan did not want the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court, to undermine the overall bilateral engagement process with India.
“As has been the case in the past, the two nuclear-tipped neighbours may bring yet another surprise, as Foreign Office officials and diplomatic sources do not rule out the possibility of a meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries in June,” the paper said.
The two leaders would be in Astana, Kazakhstan, for the SCO summit.
At the forthcoming summit of the SCO, which comprises countries such as Russia, China and Central Asian states, Pakistan and India will be formally admitted as full members.
Meanwhile, another Pakistani daily The News International, in an editorial, said there seems to be “very little scope” for an immediate improvement in Indo-Pak ties.