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Modi-Sharif meeting looks bleak

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Narendra Modi Nawaz Sharif (File)

 Narendra Modi  Nawaz Sharif With a fortnight left for the SAARC summit in Kathmandu, chances of a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif looked bleak.

External affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, in answer to a query, said here Monday: “You have heard our leaders talk of paving the path towards a process. If the path is paved I can perhaps share some details.. At this stage, we remain committed to paving a path; but for the path to be paved you have to have a situation that will promote the path to be paved, we haven’t reached the stage as yet.

But he also said that there were two weeks left to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meet in Kathmandu and that “in India-Pakistan relations two weeks is a very, very long time”.

Relations between the two neighbours have nosedived following the prolonged firing on the border, in which civilians and security personnel have been killed.

India called off the Aug 25 foreign secretary level talks in Islamabad over the Pakistani envoy here hobnobbing with Kashmiri separatist leaders, despite being told not to meet them.

Former defence minister Arun Jaitley said last week that Pakistan should draw a red line whether it wants to talk to the government of India or those who want to break India”.

He said India was “ready to speak to Pakistan” and is “willing to normalise the relationship” but “then there are a few red lines”.But Pakistan retorted, saying that it does “not accept any conditionality”.