Pakistan

No meeting scheduled between PM Nawaz and Modi at UN general assembly: FO

ISLAMABAD: Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan have no plan to meet at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly, the Pakistani foreign office said on Thursday, scotching speculation that the leaders of the two nations might seek the opportunity to improve rocky ties.

Both Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are due to stay at the same hotel in New York during the meeting of world leaders this month, leading some media to speculate the two would meet.

But Qazi Khalilullah, a spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry, denied those reports.

“No proposal is on the table for the meeting of the two PMs,” he told Reuters.

Planned talks between national security advisors from the two neighbors were canceled last month hours before they were due to start, dashing hopes the two might tackle the violence that many fear could one day spark a nuclear showdown.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming independent nations in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim in full but rule in part.

Civilians on both sides are frequently killed as the two armies’ trade pot-shots at each other across the disputed Line of Control.

Sharif was elected in 2013 promising to improve relations with India, but since then domestic troubles have forced him to cede more control over foreign and security policy to Pakistan’s more hawkish military.

Modi, who took office in May last year, has taken a hard line with Pakistan, insisting he is unwilling to discuss other issues unless Pakistan admits its role in terror attacks in India.

In last month’s canceled talks, India wanted to only discuss terrorism-related issues. Pakistan wanted a wider agenda, including the status of Kashmir, a topic that Khalilullah said Sharif would raise at the United Nations.

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