A day after reports suggested that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had secretly met with his Indian counterpart during a regional summit in Nepal last year, both governments on Wednesday rubbished the report. It added that such reports were “baseless, malicious and concocted,” before regretting that despite the clarification, some sections of media were continuing to air the 'false news.'
The statement added that the allegation was “nothing but a pack of lies and an attempt to malign the office of the prime minister.” Separately, the spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs also denied reports of the meeting. Responding to queries on microblogging site Twitter on Wednesday evening, spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the reports were “completely baseless.”
Yesterday, Pakistans Federal Government spokesman had also rubbished reports, saying no such meeting was held during the SAARC conference in Kathmandu. Media reports quoting a book said that a year ago, Modi and Sharif held an hour-long secret meeting where the two leaders shared their constraints while agreeing they needed more time and greater political space to move forward with public engagements.
Earlier in the day, the Congress sought a clarification from the government on the issue. "Did the Prime Minister at all have a meeting with Pakistan PM? If yes, then why did his government keep it secret? Was it for image? Optics? 56-inch-chest or for political deliverables?" party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi asked while talking to reporters.
If it is yes, then did the Prime Minister consider the Ministry of External Affairs either incompetent or incapable as he had to engage an industrialist for the purpose, Singhvi asked. Asked for his reaction, a senior BJP leader said, "Anyone who understands the way Modi conducts his foreign affairs would realise that he believes in direct diplomacy. So, involving anyone else is almost out of the question."