UNITED NATIONS (Staff Report) – After days of speculation over a possible handshake and a one-on-one meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, all they did was wave at each other across a table during the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping conference, hosted by US President Barack Obama in New York.
PM Nawaz and Modi were seated across each other at a horseshoe-shaped table during the summit.
Earlier, Nawaz Sharif walked into the conference hall and waved at Modi, who waved back and smiled.
Then there was a pause, after which Narendra Modi waved again and Nawaz Sharif acknowledged with a smile.
Apart from the wave, there was no other interaction or gesture exchange between the two leaders.
PM Nawaz and Mr Modi shared the same hotel, the iconic Waldorf Astoria, but avoided each other in a building that has several entrances and driveways that lead right into the middle of the structure. They had last met in Ufa in Russia in July.
Officials had ruled out bilateral talks but the possibility of at least a handshake between the two leaders had been raised. Pakistani officials had said they expected the usual exchange of “salaam dua” if the two met.
Pakistan envoy in UN, Maleeha Lodhi said “ it is not known who waved hand first, however, both the prime ministers have not held any meeting.
India is persistently demanding permanent membership of UN security council for itself.
Maleeha Lodhi said that increase in the members of UN Security Council is not a democratic process in any way. There is no consensus over reforms in security council, she underlined.
Meanwhile, addressing the summit Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan has all along supported efforts for reforms and strengthening of UN Peacekeeping forces.
He said Pakistan has consistently figured among the top troop contributors to the United Nations, adding “our professional, well-trained and competent peacekeepers are deployed in the most difficult theaters.”
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan also remains committed to contribute to UN police requirements in the future.
Ties have been strained between the neighbours over border firing and a series of ceasefire violations. Talks between National Security Advisors were cancelled recently because of a dispute over the agenda. India wanted to discuss terror attacks and Pakistan insisted on raising Kashmir.