After 17 long months, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi meets his counterpart from the neighbouring country, Nawaz Sharif at a cultural gala in Kazakhstan's capital Astana, exchanging formal greetings with only small talks as there are no reports of any major diplomatic talks between the two leaders.
The two prime ministers are in Astana to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit where India and Pakistan will be inducted as full members of the bloc, in its first ever expansion since its inception in 2001.
Since the two leaders are meeting each other for the first time after Sharif’s surgery, Modi enquired mainly about Sharif’s health and well-being.
“He also enquired about Sharif’s mother and his family”, said sources.
There was a widespread supposition that the two leaders will be sitting in for a talk with the tension growing between the two countries. However, India confirmed that there wont be any talks between the two leaders.
"No meeting is scheduled either from their side or from our side," Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had said, asserting that "talks and terror can not go together".
The two sides had similarly met in the leaders’ lounge in Paris, on the sidelines of the Climate Change summit in November 2015. While it was then portrayed as just a short chat, that had decided to sit in for talks between the NSAs followed by the resumption of the comprehensive bilateral dialogue process but was cancelled by the Pathankot terror attack during early January 2016.
Meanwhile, after being inducted, the two leaders will participate in the Astana Expo, a large business, social and cultural event organised by Kazakhstan, followed by dinner, and before Modi will fly back.