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Sharif, Modi wave at each other at UN peacekeeping summit

Narendra Modi, Nawaz Sharif

United Nations :  After days of speculation over an informal meeting or a possible handshake, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif were only seen waving at each other today as they attended the UN peacekeeping summit.

Assembling for the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping hosted by US President Barack Obama, Modi walked into the conference hall first and took his seat at the right-side of the horse-shoe shaped table in the chamber hall.

Sharif walked in a few minutes later and took his seat right across from Modi at the left-side of the table. The two leaders did not immediately wave or smile at each other.

Just minutes before the programme was about to begin, 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. Apart from this, there was no interaction between the two leaders.

Since they had reached the chamber just minutes before the summit was to begin, they took their seats and did not walk around the room to meet or greet any other leaders present. They clapped at the end of each other’s speech.

On Sharif’s side of the table was seated Obama, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and leaders from Rwanda, Ethiopia.

On Modi’s side were the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and leaders from France and Indonesia.

Modi and Sharif were in the chamber for almost an hour and a half and the Indian leader left immediately after addressing the summit. He did not walk up to any leader to shake hands. Sharif left the summit about 10-15 minutes after Modi.

Sharif and Modi were staying in the same hotel and the summit was the only platform where they were under one roof during their stay in the city for the UN General Assembly.

Modi and Sharif had last met in Ufa, Russia, in July on the sidelines of the BRICS and SCO summits.

Indo-Pak ties are going through a chill particularly after last month’s cancellation of NSA-level talks following differences over the agenda proposed by Islamabad, and a planned meeting between Kashmiri separatists and Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz.

India has also accused Pakistan of repeated ceasefire violations and of having a hand in recent terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir.

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