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PM Modi greatly values his relationship with Sharif: MEA

Vikas Swarup, Indian diplomat and author

New York :  There is nothing “out of the ordinary” if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif waved at each other, it was officially stated here.

“The Prime Minister greatly values his relationship with Prime Minister Sharif and if they have waved at each other I don’t see anything out of the ordinary in that,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters here yesterday when asked about the two leaders waving at each other at the peacekeeping summit.

Just minutes before the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping was about to begin here yesterday, Sharif waved at Modi, who on seeing the Pakistani Prime Minister waving at him, smiled back and responded with a wave. After a brief pause, Modi waved again to Sharif, who smiled back and nodded his head.

On Sharif raising the issue of Kashmir in his meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Swarup said what he (Sharif) says formally on the floor of the General Assembly, “if we find that yes it is something that we need to respond to, we will respond to it.”

He said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday had a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who said the UK is looking forward to Prime Minister Modi’s maiden visit later this year and “want some very substantive outcome” from the visit.

Swarup said Swaraj and Hammond also discussed possibility of UK’s participation in India’s smart cities programme and on bilateral investments.

Swaraj will also meet with her counterparts from Nepal, Sri Lanka and CARICOM.

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