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Monday, February 17, 2020

Jab they met: When India-Pakistan leaders met

Nirupama Subramanian recalls earlier meetings between Indian PMs and Pak heads of government since 2001 — the story of modest achievements and lost opportunities.

Written by Nirupama Subramanian | Updated: July 10, 2015 8:50:23 am
narendra modi, nawaz sharif, india pakistan ties, Narendra Modi Nawaz Sharif meet, PM modi sharif meeting, modi sharif UFA meet, BRICS summit, modi brics summit, modi nawaz sharif, modi sharif talks, india pakistan talks, modi in Russia Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, New Delhi, 2014 (File photo)

Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif meet in Ufa today. Indian Express recalls earlier meetings between Indian Prime Ministers and Pak heads of government since 2001 — the story of modest achievements and lost opportunities.

musharraf-advani-l Vajpayee and Musharraf, Agra, 2001

Agra Summit, July 2001
A B Vajpayee & Pervez Musharraf
First after Kargil war and Musharraf’s coup.
OUTCOME: Talks ended in failure,
mutual recrimination.

SAARC Summit, Jan 2004
Vajpayee & Musharraf, Islamabad
Met on SAARC sidelines. An LoC ceasefire was in place.
OUTCOME: Possibly the most constructive Summit between the countries. Joint Statement set ground for Composite Dialogue Process, under which discussion on 8 issues, including Kashmir and terrorism, was agreed upon. Statement was implicit admission that terrorism against India emanated from Pakistan.

Read: After long chill, PM Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif will meet today

UN, Sep 2004
Manmohan Singh & Musharraf
First meeting after UPA came to power. Singh, who was born in Pak Punjab, had shown personal interest in normalising relations.
OUTCOME: Joint Statement reiterated commitment to continuing dialogue to restore normalcy, cooperation. Agreed to implement CBMs of all categories, and discussed the possibility of a gas pipeline via Pakistan to India in the interest of the welfare and prosperity of both countries.

Singh and Musharraf, New Delhi, 2005 Singh and Musharraf, New Delhi, 2005

Cricket Summit, Apr 2005
Singh & Musharraf, New Delhi
10 days after cross-LoC bus was inaugurated, with a can-do mood in the context of ceasefire and Composite Dialogue Process, Musharraf visited, ostensibly to watch an India-Pakistan match at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Both sides declared willingness to find an “enduring” solution to all issues.
OUTCOME: Warm, friendly feelings on both sides, lots of travel

Non-Aligned Summit,
Oct 2006
Singh & Musharraf, Havana
Met in shadow of Mumbai train bombings that led to India “pausing” the Composite Dialogue Process. Till then, there was talk that an agreement on Kashmir was near. An agreement on Siachen, however, had been vetoed by the Indian Army.
OUTCOME: Agreed to set up Anti-Terror Mechanism, a joint committee to share intelligence, that was to meet twice a year. But it met only once, in Islamabad in March 2007.

SAARC Summit, Aug 2008
Singh & Yusuf Raza Gilani, Colombo
Met under cloud of Kabul embassy bombing after which India had again paused the peace process. Two days before the meeting, The New York Times reported that US had intelligence that showed ISI was behind the bombing. Meeting was cold; Singh gave Gilani a “dressing down”, officials said.
OUTCOME: A weak assurance by Gilani that his government would “get to the root” of the embassy bombing.

Shangai Co-operation Organisation, Jun 2009
Singh & Asif Ali Zardari, Yekaterinburg
First since 26/11. In full media glare, Singh told Zardari, “I am very happy to meet you, but I must tell you quite frankly that I have come with the limited mandate of discussing how Pakistan can deliver on its assurances that its territory would not be used for terrorist attacks on India.”

OUTCOME: Agreed that Foreign Secretaries should meet to discuss terrorism, work out agenda for meeting on sidelines of NAM in Sharm-al Shaikh the following month.

NAM Summit, July 2009
Singh & Gilani, Sharm al-Shaikh
Hour-long meeting at Egyptian seaside resort on July 16; PMs struck a great rapport
OUTCOME: Disastrous for Singh, who realised his own party did not back his mission to normalise ties. Joint Statement had a line about “threats in Balochistan and other areas”, a veiled reference to the “Indian hand”, which triggered a huge controversy in India.

SAARC Summit, Apr 2010
Singh & Gilani, Thimphu
Another attempt to kickstart dialogue; meeting lasted an hour, without any note-takers present.
OUTCOME: Agreement to “think afresh” on how to break impasse; Foreign Ministers, Foreign Secretaries would meet to work out modalities for “substantive dialogue”.

Cricket diplomacy,
Mar 2011
Singh & Gilani, Mohali
Amid post-Thimphu thaw, Gilani came to watch World Cup semifinal.
OUTCOME: Commerce Secretaries met the following month, agreed to relax visa norms for businessmen, cut non-tariff barriers. Pakistan agreed that giving MFN status to India would help.

Modi swearing-in,

May 2014
Narendra Modi & Nawaz Sharif, New Delhi
Modi had invited all SAARC leaders to his inauguration. Sharif and he met after the ceremony, exchanged gifts for their mothers, and agreed Foreign Secretaries would meet to see how to restart talks.
OUTCOME: Bonhomie dissolved quickly over the Pakistan High Commissioner’s meeting with leaders of the Hurriyat in New Delhi.

Singh and Gilani, Maldives, 2011 Singh and Gilani, Maldives, 2011

SAARC Summit, Nov 2011
Singh & Gilani, Maldives
Days earlier, Pakistan had announced MFN status for India. PMs were in good mood, spoke of more meetings.
OUTCOME: Optimism about talks’ future

Nuclear Security Summit, Mar 2012
Singh & Gilani, Seoul
“Informal, unstructured” meeting on sidelines. Gilani asked if India could supply power to Pakistan.
OUTCOME: More optimism. Gilani’s office said leaders “expressed desire to intensify the dialogue process”. In September, liberalised visa regime announced.

Ajmer Sharif diplomacy, Apr 2012
Singh & Zardari, New Delhi
Zardari and his son Bilawal stopped for lunch at Singh’s residence during a quick visit to Ajmer. No formal talks.

UN, Sep 2013
Singh & Nawaz Sharif
Hour-long meeting on UNGA sidelines. Spate of LoC ceasefire violations were threatening to break decade-old unwritten truce.
OUTCOME: Sharif spoke of the opportunity for a “new beginning”.

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