New Delhi: Ahead of the the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Kyrgyzstan's Bishkek on June 13-14, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend along with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said there will be no official meeting between the two leaders.
In a press briefing, ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "To the best of my knowledge, no meeting has been planned between PM Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan at the SCO summit."
The official statement assumes significance as there was speculation that the leaders may meet in Bishkek in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack in February followed by the cross-border Balakot air strike, which escalated tensions to an all-time high between the neighbours.
Speculation of the two Prime Minister's meeting in Bishkek gained traction after the recent appointment of Modi to the country's highest office for a second term, and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood's three-day visit to India.
Mahmood on Wednesday offered prayers at the historic Jama Masjid in Delhi on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr and his visit had intensified speculation. But the ministry spokesperson said his visit was a "personal" in nature and "there was no meeting scheduled with him".
Early in June, Imran Khan had called PM Modi to congratulate him for his historic victory in the Lok Sabha polls.
The neighbouring country's Foreign Minister Mohammad Faisal had taken to Twitter to share Khan's cordial greetings and had also expressed his desire for both countries to "work together".
"PM spoke to PM Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in Lok Sabha elections in India. PM expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their peoples," Faisal said in a tweet.
Khan also envisioned that the leaderships of Indian and Pakistan will work together to attain "peace, progress, and prosperity in South Asia", added Faisal.
A press release by the Indian Foreign Ministry, following the telephone call, had said that Modi thanked Khan for the greetings and reiterated the former's "neighbourhood first policy" to "fight poverty jointly" in Pakistan.
"He stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress, and prosperity in our region," the release said.
Khan had also reached out to Modi personally on Twitter to congratulate him on the day the election results were announced.
"I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress, and prosperity in South Asia," Khan had then said.
Modi had responded to his Pakistani counterpart's congratulatory message by "warmly expressing" his gratitude while also reiterating his commitment to "peace and development" in South Asia.