By Muhammad Luqman
At a time when relations between Pakistan and India have touched all time low, President Mamnoon Hussain and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi grabbed attention of international media when they exchanged pleasantries during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao.
The two leaders were photographed shaking hands after a press conference by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mamnoon Hussain and Narendra Modi are among leaders who attended the media briefing after the culmination of the 18th SCO summit. However, the Pakistani and Indian leaders are not scheduled to hold any bilateral meeting at the summit.
Chinese President Jinping gave the leaders of Pakistan and India a “special welcome” to their first summit of the SCO, since their countries joined the group last year. In Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, Paksitan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and India’s Modi had attended the SCO meeting last year as heads of the observer states.
The leaders of all eight member countries are in attendance at the summit, including President of Kazakhstan N. A. Nazarbayev, Chinese President XI Jinping, Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tajik President E.Rahmon and Uzbek President Sh. M. Mirziyoyev, in addition to President Mamnoon Hussain and Narendra Modi are attending the summit of the SCO formed back in 2001.
Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia and Turkmenistan are attending the meeting as observers.
President Mamnoon while addressing a SCO session on Sunday, expressed hope that the upcoming general election would bring further economic stability in Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan has witnessed the valuable improvement in services and agricultural sector, adding that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has further strengthened Pakistan’s economy.
Speaking about relations with Afghanistan, he remarked: “Peace and stability in Afghanistan is our common objective and Pakistan is playing its due role in this regard.”
Pakistan and Afghanistan are working on a comprehensive strategy on a bilateral basis to establish peace in Afghanistan, he said, adding that ceasefire in Afghanistan is a positive sign for regional peace.
Mamnoon also felicitated the Chinese government and the people of China on the successful conduct of SCO Summit.