Modi may visit Pakistan in November for SAARC meet; MEA says, no decision yet

Karachi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is looking forward to visit Pakistan in November to attend the Saarc Summit, India's High Commissioner said in comments published on Tuesday. However, the External Affairs ministry has clarified that no final decision has been taken as of yet.  Gautam Bambawale also told an event here on Monday that while India and Pakistan must certainly discuss the entire range of issues, they must keep their focus on economy which he described as a "low-hanging fruit". "I can't say about the future but as of today Prime Minister Modi is looking forward to visiting Islamabad for the Saarc summit in November," the Dawn quoted Bambawale as saying at an interactive session of the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations.

Also Read: When Modi met Sharif—a timeline His comments came amid reports that Modi might keep away from the Saarc Summit in view of the rising tensions between India and Pakistan, particularly over Jammu and Kashmir. Bambawale said that it was India's desire to see a Pakistan which was moderate, prosperous and stable and at peace with itself, its neighbours as well as the rest of the world. He admitted that trust and confidence were lacking in relations between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Must Read: Indo-Pak relations in Modi era: Some ups, many downs  The road to normalization of Pakistan-India relations, he said, lay through greater trade and business, the roadmap for which was prepared by the two governments in 2012. The total trade between the two countries was worth just $2.5 billion a year while its potential was of $20 billion, the Dawn quoted him as saying. The Indian envoy said that even when tensions were high between the two countries, there had been contacts at the operational level. Over the past month and a half, there had been "cordial interactions" between Pakistani and Indian border forces.