Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa on Friday after more than a year, a period that witnessed ups and downs in Indo-Pak relations over Islamabad's attitude towards elements instigating terror against India.
During the meeting on Friday morning on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, Modi is expected to voice concerns over cross-border terrorism and discuss the state of bilateral ties and their future direction.
"It is confirmed. PM @narendramodi and PM Nawaz Sharif will have a bilateral meeting in Ufa tomorrow at 9.15 am (9.45 am IST) on sidelines of SCO Summit," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.
The confirmation came hours after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said that possibilities were always there that the two leaders could meet.
Sharif himself parried questions on how hopeful he was about on Friday's meeting. "Let us first talk. Then I will talk to you.
He also avoided answering a question whether Friday's meeting is a major step forward in Indo-Pak relations.
Officials said Modi and Sharif would be reviewing the relationship, against the backdrop of war of words between the two sides over India's role in the liberation of Bangladesh after Modi visited Dhaka.
Terrorism is a major concern for India, an official said, indicating that the issue could be taken up at Friday's meeting.
In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said bilateral issues of importance will be discussed in the Modi-Sharif meeting.
"India has proposed a meeting and Pakistan has positively responded to it," the spokesman said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged pleasantries with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa on Thursday on the eve of their first meeting in over a year.
The two leaders briefly met each other at a dinner hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, host of the BRICS and SCO summits.
Modi and Sharif will meet officially in Ufa on Friday morning after more than a year, a period that witnessed ups and downs in Indo-Pak relations over Islamabad's attitude towards elements instigating terror against India.
During Friday's meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit, Modi is expected to voice concerns over cross-border terrorism and discuss the state of bilateral ties and their future direction.
Modi and Sharif met for the first time in New Delhi in May last year when the Pakistani leader came to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Indian Prime Minister.
The two leaders were last together in Kathmandu in November for the SAARC Summit but they did not have a bilateral meeting because of the acrimony between the two countries at that time over Pakistan's envoy in New Delhi engaging with separatist Hurriyat leaders which led to the cancellation of Foreign Secretary-level talks.
After a period of lull, Foreign Secretary Jaishankar went to Islamabad on a ice-breaking visit as part of a SAARC Yatra and discussed the possibility of resuming talks.
The tone for Friday's meeting was clearly set by Modi's phone call to Sharif last month to greet him on the beginning of Ramzan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims. During the telephonic talk, Modi had stressed the need for having peaceful ties.
Modi had also conveyed to Sharif India's decision to release detained Pakistani fishermen on the occasion of Ramzan.
Subsequently, India had released 88 Pakistani fishermen. Pakistan reciprocated by freeing 111 Indian fishermen.
Prior to that phone call, both sides had exchanged sharp comments after Modi's critical remarks about Pakistan during his Bangladesh visit and in the wake of India's military action in Myanmar.
Image: PM Narendra Modi will meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO Summit