Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan are sharing space at the two-day 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit at the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek.
Amid strained relations between India and Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs notified that no formal bilateral talks have been planned between the two neighbours. However, in a hitch to Pakistan, Prime Minister Modi conducted bilateral talks with China, an 'all weather friend' of Pakistan on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.
The bilateral meeting between the two neighbours was a first after Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar was proscribed as a global terrorist by the UNSC on May 1.
During the talks, bringing up the terror-friendly neighbour, PM Modi told China's President Xi Jinping that there is a need for Pakistan to create an atmosphere 'free to terrorism' fortifying its stand that 'talks and terrorism' don't go hand in hand.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, "There was a very brief discussion on Pakistan, time was a constraint. Prime Minister, in fact, said that we have a consistent position with respect to Pakistan. We discuss all issues through a bilateral mechanism and we look forward to peaceful settlement through negotiation. We are committed to this process, the Prime Minister recalled that we have made efforts in this regard and these efforts have been derailed."
The Prime Minister of Pakistan arrived at Bishkek for the Summit while Indo-Sino bilateral talks to strengthen ties between the two countries were underway.
India made its presence felt at the SCO Summit by holding bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin along with China, wherein the plans to hold a trilateral meeting between India, Russia, and China on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan was ascertained.
Prime Minister Modi is also scheduled to hold a third bilateral meet with another leader from the region and another of Pakistan's neighbour, the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani following the SCO dinner hosted for the delegates.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Special Assistant to PM on Youth Affairs Muhammad Usman Dar accompanied the Pakistani PM.
While it was announced by the Pakistan government on twitter that the Imran Khan is expected to conduct meetings with other leaders present at the Summit, he is not known to have done so yet.
The SCO summit in Bishkek this week would discuss economy-related issues and security cooperation with a focus on counter-terrorism, China said.
The SCO is a China-led eight-member economic and security bloc. Its founding members include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were admitted to the Beijing-based regional security grouping in 2017.
(With PTI inputs)