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Pak Foreign Secretary in Delhi Ahead of Imran-Modi Face-to-Face at SCO Summit

CC BY 2.0 / Giridhar Appaji Nag Y / Flags of India and Pakistan (File Photo)
Flags of India and Pakistan (File Photo) - Sputnik International
On 2 June, while addressing a Ramadan celebration, Indian envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria said that a telephone conversation between Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi was positive and that both favour “peace and stability” in the region.

New Delhi (Sputnik): Ahead of first face-to-face meeting of the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit since a mid-February escalation, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood is in New Delhi for three days. Both countries have termed it a "private visit".

Nevertheless, local media speculates that the Pakistani foreign secretary is laying the groundwork for a thaw between India and Pakistan at next week's SCO summit in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan.

READ MORE: Indian and Pakistani Troops Exchange Sweets at Border for Eid-ul-Fitr Festival

An Indian government source said that Mehmood arrived in New Delhi along with his family on Tuesday on a "personal visit". He will return to Pakistan on Thursday. On Wednesday morning, Mehmood offered prayers on the occasion of the Eid-ul-Fitr festival in New Delhi's historic Jama Masjid mosque.

Later in the day, Indian envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria also visited Pakistani President Arif Alvi, as an official said, to "convey Eid greetings".

India's Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol along the fenced border with Pakistan in Ranbir Singh Pura sector near Jammu February 26, 2019 - Sputnik International
SCO Best Platform for Defusing India-Pakistan Tension - Ex Russian Envoy
At the official level, the two countries are mum on any possibility of bilateral meeting on the side-lines of the SCO summit. But a quiet visit by the Pakistani foreign secretary and recent exchanges have given credence to speculations that moves are afoot to facilitate a meeting between Modi and Khan.

Earlier, on 26 May, during the first direct communication with Imran Khan, Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to fight poverty jointly, saying: "creating trust, an environment free of violence and terrorism, are essential for peace, progress and prosperity in our region".

On 22 May, then-Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj held an informal dialogue on the side-lines of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the SCO in Bishkek.

Qureshi made it clear to Swaraj that Pakistan does "want all the matters resolved through dialogue and that Prime Minister Khan had said in his very first speech that if India takes one step forward, we would take two steps forward".

READ MORE: Islamabad Explains Why Pakistan PM Imran Khan Not Invited to Modi Swearing-In

The two countries stopped the bilateral dialogue in 2016 when Pakistan-based terrorist groups, as India claimed, conducted a series of attacks on military installations.

The relations touched a new low this year in February, when 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir. It led to the Indian Air Force launching an air strike on 26 February in retaliation. The two nuclear-armed nations reached near a war-like stage when Pakistan retaliated on the following day and brought down an Indian fighter jet.

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