PM Modi, Nawaz Sharif exchange greetings in Kazakhstan
PM Modi and Nawaz Sharif's meeting comes amid strained relations between the two countries following the death penalty given to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistan court. Photograph: (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held bilateral talks with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev after reaching Astana earlier today, happened to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Leaders' Lounge at the Astana Opera before the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) concert.
They reportedly exchanged greetings even as it was the first occasion when the two leaders came across each other after Sharif's operation. Prime Minister Modi, hence, enquired about Sharif's health and also asked about his mother and family.
Prime Minister Modi is in the Kazakh capital to attend the two-day summit of SCO, which is a consortium focussing on security and trade.
India and Pakistan, which so far have had an observer status till now, will be formally inducted in the six-nation bloc that includes China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Prime Minister Modi is also set to hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The chance meeting of Prime Minister Modi and PM Sharif comes amidst a highly-strained atmosphere between the two neighbouring nations following the death sentence awarded to former Indian Naval Officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.
India moved the ICJ against the death penalty awarded to Jadhav by a Pakistan military court on May 8 for espionage.
Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains he was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.
During the last trial on May 18, the ICJ had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav.