The guessing game has begun, the usual media frenzy that kicks off whenever the leaders of India and Pakistan are expected to be present at a multilateral event. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s telephone call to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif has fuelled speculation about a possible meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s annual summit in the Russian city of Ufa next month.
However, no official request for a meeting has been initiated from either side so far.
India and Pakistan are expected to be given full membership of the SCO at the forthcoming summit on July 8-9.
Mr Modi’s initiative to speak to Pakistan’s prime minister and greet him ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramzan seemed to have lowered tensions between the two neighbours. India and Pakistan have been locked into rhetorical dueling after Mr Modi’s critical remarks about Pakistan’s alleged support to terrorism during his visit to Dhaka earlier this month. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s veiled threat that India could stage similar strikes against Pakistan-based militants as it did in the case of Myanmar-based northeastern rebel outfits elicited sharp reactions from Pakistan.
Against this backdrop, Mr Modi’s Ramzan call to his Pakistani counterpart on June 17 is widely seen as a sign of thaw between the two prickly South Asian neighbours. During his conversation with Mr Sharif, Mr Modi emphasised that there was a need for maintaining “peaceful” and “friendly” bilateral ties between the two neighbors.
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