Pak not seeking bilateral Modi-Shehbaz meeting at SCO summit

Islamabad: Pakistan will not seek a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi when the two along with the 13 regional leaders would be under one-roof later this week in the historic city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, to attend the 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, sources said.

“Islamabad could consider positively if New Delhi requests for a structured meeting,” highly-placed sources in the Prime Minister’s Office told The News.

The chance meeting of any two leaders in the corridors of the summit couldn’t be ruled out, the sources hinted.

The Foreign Office will brief about the final schedule of the meetings later this week.

The maiden meeting between Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping, will be notable as it will be part of the latter’s first trip abroad since the coronavirus pandemic, The News reported.

The sideline meeting will have a conspicuous significance since the two countries have several subjects on their agenda to discuss, including the acceleration of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and much-needed Chinese fiscal assistance for the economy.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Azerbaijan counterpart Ilham Aliyev will be among the leaders who will have bilateral meetings with Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite domestic complexities, will attend the summit and has scheduled a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi.

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