Bishkek: The 19th Shanghai cooperation organisation or SCO summit ended on Friday with India seeking global cooperation on the issue of terror and raising issues such as trade, connectivity. But it was a ‘meeting’, rather the absence of one, between PM Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan that had social media in a tizzy, so much so, that the Ministry of External Affairs had to come up with an advisory to clear the air.
It said, “Some are commenting on social media that a meeting took place. Even Pakistan is not claiming a meeting took place. Let me once again reiterate that no meeting took place. No pull aside. Only an exchange of usual pleasantries in the Leaders’ Lounge where other leaders were also present. Request not to twist facts.”
Pakistan corroborated the same. Their Minister of External Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi told WION, “There was no structured meeting decided…but yes, there was a meeting, pleasantries were exchanged. They shook hands. This happened today when leaders were gathering at the holding room. I cannot say who initiated this…as I was not present there.”
“The Pakistani Prime Minister congratulated him on his victory and of course he has won with a heavy mandate by defeating a major political family,” Qureshi said.
Interestingly, the leaders shared the same space for at least seven times within two days but they exchanged pleasantries once. Ahead of the Summit, India had clarified that no structured bilateral talks would happen between the two leaders but speculations were rife about a pull-aside.
Earlier, India had snubbed Pakistan’s offer of opening the airspace for PM Modi’s flight to Bishkek. However, after India decided not to use the Pakistani airspace for the PM’s flight to Bishkek to attend the SCO summit, Islamabad said they were are ready to open their airspace “specifically” for the VVIP flight.
Meanwhile, on Friday, speaking at the SCO summit, PM Modi made a veiled attack at Pakistan and said, “Concerted action should be taken against the countries that support, abet and provide financial assistance to terror. (With inputs from Sidhant Sibal/Anas Mallick)