New Delhi, Apr 12 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to have bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi when the two attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London next week, officials in the Ministry of External Affairs said.
During his visit to the UK from April 17-20, Modi will meet his counterpart Theresa May and a Memorandum on Return of Illegal Immigrants is likely to be signed between the two nations, K Nagaraj Naidu, Joint Secretary (West Europe), said.
The pact expired in 2014 and it is likely to be renewed during the visit.
Prior to his trip to the UK, Modi will visit Sweden from April 16-17, where he and his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven will host the first India-Nordic Summit. He will also have an audience with Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden.
Besides Lofven, prime Ministers of four other Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway – will attend the summit.
“As far as the possible meeting (between Modi and Abbasi) on the sidelines of the CHOGM (is concerned)… From the first reading of the scheduling, it is a very packed summit. So, if at all there will be a bilateral meeting, it will probably be on the first day, but even that first day is completely packed.
“So at this juncture, we really don’t have any idea of any of the bilateral meetings of the prime minister. We do look at this as opportunity to interact with the heads of the governments of small states, island states. So, prima facie that would be the emphasis of our interaction because this would be so most appropriate place to do so,” Rudendra Tandon, Joint Secretary (United Nations Political), said.
The prime ministers of India and Pakistan last met in December 2015, when Modi, in an unplanned visit, landed in Lahore on his way back from Afghanistan and attended then Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding.
However, relations turned frosty after the Pathankot terror attack in January 2016 and another strike by terrorists on an Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in September that year.
Another official in the MEA, too, ruled out any meeting between the two prime ministers.
During his visit to the UK, besides meeting his counterpart, the prime minister will meet Prince Charles.
He will also address a townhall in the UK. A visit to the three-storey house in London, where Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, lived as a student in the 1920s is also likely. The property has been acquired by the Maharashtra government.
Modi will meet scientists, innovators and also launch the India-UK Tech Alliance comprising young CEOs from both the countries.
Asked whether the issue of terrorism will be raised during the CHOGM, Tandon said: “The fact that the international community needs to get together to combat terrorism is an important part of our overall multilateral diplomacy. But we use different platforms for different purposes.
“That way the issue of global counter-terrorism is best done at the United Nations.” The Commonwealth, he added, focuses on developing country problems and keeping that focus is important and keeping that focus is important.
“A lot of society related work is done within the Commonwealth. So, activities that help in preventing violent extremism and that whole series of activities that are contemplated by member states, that is the focus in this Commonwealth.” The Commonwealth comprises 53 nations.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.