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Imran, Modi exchange pleasantries in Bishkek

NEW DELHI, June 14 (WNP): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the sidelines of the margins of the summit meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, India’s The Print has reported.

Quoting Indian official sources, it said Modi exchanged pleasantries with Imran at the leaders’ lounge at the summit venue. There was no formal meeting or ‘pull-aside’, just pleasantries exchanged, the sources stressed.

It had reported on May 28 that the two leaders were expected to meet on the sidelines of the SCO summit and possibly begin the process of resuming stalled peace talks.

PM Imran had called Modi on May 26, expressing his desire to work together. On May 23, after the Indian parliamentary election results were announced, he had tweeted his congratulations to the Indian counterpart.

One day before the Indian poll results, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had also told his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in Bishkek that Pakistan wanted peace.

Since coming to power in 2018, PM Imran has repeatedly voiced Pakistan’s desire for peace, but Modi administration has not reciprocated these peace gestures.

Bilateral relations between Pakistan and India have been bedeviled by unresolved disputes, mutual recrimination and bloody wars.

Tensions between them flared up in February, this year, when Indian warplanes violated Pakistan’s airspace and dropped bombs triggering a retaliatory strike by Pakistani jets in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

In an ensuing dogfight, two Indian jets were shot down by Pakistani aircraft and one pilot was also captured who was later handed over to New Delhi as a peace gesture.

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