Kathmandu: The frostiness of ties between India and Pakistan was visible in the Nepalese capital at the 18th Saarc Summit’s inaugural session on Wednesday.
First, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif totally ignored his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi after entering the podium to take his seat. He did not look at Modi and proceeded straight to his seat.
Then, when Shaif’s name was announced to make his speech, Modi started reading a newspaper supplement related to the Saarc summit. As other heads of state and government clapped at the announcement of the name of Shairf, Modi was seen busy reading the paper.
But when Modi’s name was announced by the chair, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Sharif and all other dignitaries clapped.
Both the leaders are staying under the same roof at Hotel Soaltee. Both of them have met with other delegates but have turned their backs to each other.
After concluding the inaugural session of the summit, all attending heads of the state and government were told to assemble at a holding room inside the main venue, National City Hall, in the heart of Kathmandu.
Besides Modi and Koirala, all the heads of the state and government assembled inside the holding room, but Koirala and Modi did not leave the podium. Modi categorically tried to avoid meeting with Sharif and, instead, started talking with Koirala on the podium after the six other heads of the state and government assembled in the holding room. After two minutes of conversation, Modi and Koirala departed for the holding room where the Indian and Pakistani leaders hardly had any chance to meet.
“How can the Indian prime minister shake hands and hug the Pakistani prime minister at a time the horror of Mumbai attack is still hounding him back home,” said a diplomat who was closely following the sequence of events. (IANS)