Putting an end to speculation, Pakistani National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf said there is “no possibility” of a bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meet in Dushanbe.
Doval and Yusuf will be attending the 16th meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Council, SCO in Dushanbe (Tajikistan).
This will be an in-person meet from June 23-24. Tajikistan is the chair of the grouping. The participation of both Pakistani and Indian NSAs in the session set off speculation of a likely meeting between the two officials.
However, Yusuf told Pakistan’s Dawn: “There is absolutely no possibility of any bilateral meeting with Indian counterpart at SCO.”
The SCO has eight member states — Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Last year in September, Ajit Doval stormed out of the SCO’s virtual meeting of national security advisors after Pakistan showed a “fictitious” map violating the agenda of the gathering.
However, in recent months, Pakistani political and army leadership seems to have toned down rhetoric against India.
Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in April said a stable relationship between India and Pakistan is key to unlocking the potential of South and Central Asia by ensuring connectivity between East and West Asia.
“We feel it is time to bury the past and move forward,” he said, adding that the onus for meaningful dialogue rests with India.
In February, India and Pakistan had announced that they had agreed to a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) which was followed by Indus water talks, sporting visas and other measures.
Despite the signs of tensions easing recently, Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi have in recent months been at the same place twice, but no meeting took place.
First, they attended the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the “Heart of Asia” on March 30 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Later in April, both were in UAE for a bilateral visit.