PM Modi, Nawaz Sharif Meet Briefly at SAARC Retreat: 10 Developments

Written by | November 27, 2014 | 0

KATHMANDU:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif shook hands and exchanged pleasantries on Thursday at an informal retreat for SAARC leaders outside Kathmandu, after a day of ignoring each other in front of cameras.

  1. Sources say PM Modi and Nawaz Sharif exchanged hellos but had no separate conversation during the retreat at Dhulikhel, which is famous for its view of the Himalayas.
  2. PM Modi and Mr Sharif have shared frosty vibes since the two-day summit began on Wednesday and did not even look at each other when they shared a dais in the opening session.
  3. On Wednesday, PM Modi had two-way talks with most leaders except Nawaz Sharif. Chances of a meeting between the two to restart India-Pakistan talks faded after Mr Sharif told reporters that “the ball is in India’s court.” India says Pakistan needs to commit to “meaningful dialogue” before they can meet at the summit.
  4. Pakistan has blocked key proposals to integrate energy grids and free up road and rail movement.
  5. Sources say SAARC nations are pushing for at least an energy pact to avoid a total collapse of the summit.
  6. The Retreat today was seen as an opportunity for other SAARC leaders to persuade Mr Sharif to change his mind on the agreements he opposed, forcing the cancellation of a signing ceremony.
  7. The Pakistani premier will fly out of Nepal this evening, a little earlier than scheduled. He will miss a banquet and a meeting with the Nepal President.
  8. In his address in the opening session of the two-day summit, PM Modi had bluntly said SAARC evoked cynicism and skepticism, and offered his suggestions to improve connectivity in the region. “As SAARC we have failed to move with the speed that our people expect and want. Nowhere in the world are collective efforts more urgent than in South Asia; and, nowhere else is it so modest,” he said.
  9. In its 30 years, SAARC or the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, has delivered negligible results for economic ties and development among its members – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  10. Despite a free trade pact since 2006, South Asian nations conduct only 5 per cent of their total trade with each other, and there are few transport and power links among them.
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