Govt rubbishes report on Modi-Nawaz Kathmandu meeting

New Delhi: The External Affairs Ministry tonight trashed reports of a secret meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of SAARC summit in Kathmandu last year.

Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup called the reports based on a book as completely baseless.

"The Report is completely baseless. NO such meeting took place in Kathmandu during the SAARC Summit," he said in a tweet while responding to queries on whether the meeting had taken place or not.

Yesterday, Pakistan¿s 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris on the sidelines of CoP 21 summit. Pic/PTI

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."

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