Press Trust of india

No bilateral meeting planned between Modi, Imran in Bishkek: MEA

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New Delhi: India Thursday said no bilateral meeting has been planned between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek next week.

There was speculation about possibility of a meeting between Modi and Khan in the wake of a private visit here by Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood days after telephonic conversation between the prime ministers.

"To best of my knowledge, there is no bilateral meeting being planned between the prime minister and PM of Pakistan on the sidelines of the SCO summit," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said during a media briefing.

Asked specifically whether he was completely ruling out any possibility of Modi-Khan meeting in Bishkek, Kumar only said he was not aware of any bilateral meeting being organised between the two leaders.

Both Modi and Khan are scheduled to attend the annual SCO summit on June 13-14.

On Pakistan Foreign Secretary's ongoing visit here, Kumar said it is his personal trip and no meeting has been planned with Indian officials.

Mahmood, who was Pakistan's High Commissioner to India before he assumed charge of the top post in mid-April, arrived here on Tuesday night on a three-day private visit.

Tensions between the two countries worsened after the Pulwama terror attack and both the countries were almost on the brink of a war after India's military planes struck a terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26 and Pakistan carried out a counter-offensive the next day.

Breaking the ice in bilateral ties, Khan on May 26 spoke to Modi on phone and expressed his desire to work together for peace and prosperity in the region.

Modi on his part called for creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism for fostering peace and prosperity in the region.

Kumar also said that there was no meeting last month in Bishkek between the then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Both had attended a meeting of SCO foreign ministers in the Kyrgyz capital last month.

He said a photograph showing the two ministers were taken when they were sitting at a holding room of the SCO foreign ministers conference.

Asked about Pakistani authorities not allowing Mumbai attack mastermind and Jammat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to lead Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at Qaddafi stadium in Lahore on Wednesday, Kumar said Islamabad has to take concrete steps to contain terror and should not just resort to symbolism.

They must walk the talk in containing terrorism, he said.

On the Kartarpur corridor, he said India had sought certain clarifications from Pakistan and it was waiting for Islamabad's response to them.

Asked about possibility of a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to India, the MEA spokesperson did not give a clear reply.

"High level exchanges have been important component of bilateral ties between India and the US. Once we have the details, we will share it," he added.

On import of oil from Iran in the wake of US sanctions, he said the decision will be based on India's national interest and energy security.

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