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Posted at: May 12, 2017, 1:52 AM; last updated: May 12, 2017, 11:02 AM (IST)

Modi-Sharif meet not ruled out next month

Modi-Sharif meet not ruled out next month

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 11

The fresh strain in ties over Kulbhushan Jadhav notwithstanding, Pakistan today hinted it could talk with India on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana next month.

Sartaj Aziz, adviser on foreign affairs to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said a meeting between Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi could not be ruled out at the summit.

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Speculation has been rife that the two leaders could use the opportunity in Astana--where both India and Pakistan are to be included as SCO full members--to resume dialogue and defuse tension. The visit by Indian businessman Sajjan Jindal to Pakistan where he met Sharif is being seen as back-channel diplomacy to convey Modi’s message.

“Pakistan could consider the meeting if interest is shown from the other side,” Aziz was quoting as having said by the ‘Nation’ newspaper. The paper also quoted senior Pakistani Foreign Office officials as saying: “There have been overt and covert talks with all the countries (Iran, Afghanistan and India).”

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