The diplomatic sources have confirmed the prospects for a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Russia next month are bright now after the former’s decision to release Pakistani fishermen lodged in Indian jails.
If the meeting fructifies, then it could provide the first opportunity for the two countries to rectify their worsening relations since the release of Mumbai terror attacks accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi from a Pakistani jail.
Both the leaders are expected to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit (SCO) in Ufa in Russia and as of now there is no formal proposal for a meeting between them on the sidelines. But the summit is important for both the countries as they are looking to become permanent members of this strategic group dominated by Russia and China.
Some analysts felt that Modi would opt out of SCO and attend only the BRICS summit in Ufa, if there were indications that India would be denied the full membership at the summit.
In a heart warming gesture, Modi called up Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday to extend good wishes for the holy month of Ramzan and further announced that India would be releasing Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails to mark the occasion.
Expressing satisfaction over the move, Pakistan at the same time said that they were expecting the release all their 488 prisoners from the Indian jails. But only 130 fishermen were expected to be released on Thursday.
India and Pakistan both currently have observer status in SCO whose six permanent members are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
As international forces pull out of Afghanistan, India sees SCO as playing an increasingly significant role in maintaining peace and stability in the country.