Indo-Pakistan leaders may meet at SAARC
A meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his
Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the
forthcoming Saarc Summit in Colombo cannot be ruled out though neither
side has so far sought a meeting, officials here said Tuesday.
Traditionally, the summit of leaders of the South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) has given leaders of South Asia the
opportunity to meet on the sidelines. But, more often than not, such
meetings are scheduled at the last moment, an official in the ministry
of external affairs (MEA) said.
“Leaders of the Saarc countries have always met each other on the
sidelines for a bilateral during the summit,” the official said,
pointing out that such interactions on the sidelines were a regular
feature at multilateral meetings.
“Please remember that a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
and President Pervez Musharraf at the NAM Summit in Havana (in 2006) had
been arranged at the last minute,” the official added.
South Block officials maintain that despite tensions between the two
countries, it will be an extremely unusual step for the Pakistani prime
minister not to meet his Indian counterpart in Colombo this weekend.
“Such meetings are scheduled a day or two before the summit,” the MEA
official said. “We still expect a meeting between the two prime
ministers to take place on the sidelines of the Saarc Summit.”