Millennium Post

No chance of Modi-Sharif meet at Astana SCO summit: MEA

After the completion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ongoing visits to Germany, Spain, France and Russia , India's foreign policy initiative will turn towards Kazakhstan next month, when Modi will visit the central Asian country's capital, Astana, to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.

In the presence of five Eurasian countries' heads of state, India will be given full membership of the strategic multilateral body for the first time since its inception in 2001. At the meeting of the SCO held in 2015, the heads of states of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan had decided to give full membership to India along with Pakistan.

This year's SCO meeting will be held on June 7 and 8 and the Pakistani media is already gossiping about a possible "handshake" meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif. The Ministry of External affairs (MEA) has, however, denied any chance of a meeting between Modi and Shariff.

But it is also true that the Astana SCO meet will mark Modi and Shariff being present at the same platform after quite a few years. An MEA Spokesperson also clarified that no proposal has come so far from the Pakistan government for a meeting with Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the SCO summit.

The Pakistan media, 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 can be held in a more conducive environment.
It reported that the two countries were admitted to the SCO on condition that they would work together to improve bilateral ties as well as to promote the interests of the SCO. That was one of the main reasons that Modi and Sharif met at Ufa, Russia, on the sidelines of the 2015 SCO summit.

Indian Government sources are categorically denying the possible of any meeting between India and Pakistan at the summit, keeping in view the present tension on the borders of Jammu and Kashmir. India and Pakistan signed a memorandum of obligations at Tashkent on June 24, 2016, starting the formal process of joining the SCO as full members.

They are expected to become full members by the next meeting at Astana in 2017. The SCO is primarily centered on its member nations' central Asian security-related concerns, often describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism.

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