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Modi, Sharif US bilateral meet unlikely

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Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may not hold bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, though they will be in New York next week for the UN General Assembly, a media report said on Tuesday.

Photo credit: newsnation.in
Photo credit: newsnation.in

A bilateral meeting between the two leaders “is not on the cards”, diplomatic sources told Dawn in Washington.

When asked at a recent briefing if Washington would try to persuade Sharif and Modi to meet in New York next week, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said: “These are issues for the two to resolve together, and that’s what we continue to encourage, a resumption of dialogue between the leaders of both India and Pakistan.”

Diplomatic sources informed Dawn that despite its reluctance to get publicly involved in India-Pakistan disputes, the US was “actively involved” in reducing tensions between the two neighbours.

The media report cited sources as saying that the US and other permanent members of the UN Security Council are urging both Indian and Pakistani leaders not to be confrontational in their addresses at the General Assembly.

India doesn’t want Pakistan to raise the Kashmir issue, but there is an understanding in Washington that no Pakistani leader can afford to do so.

“Kashmir is very important. It has to be discussed,” said a senior Pakistani diplomat when asked if Sharif would raise the Kashmir issue in his address.

Pakistan is likely to raise the Kashmir issue “more forcefully than ever before in the recent past”, a diplomatic source was quoted as saying.

(IANS)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)

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