The ongoing strain in Indo-Pak relations was evident at the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers’ conference here when Home Minister Rajnath Singh came face- to-face with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan for the first time on Thursday and the two leaders barely shook hands. As Singh arrived at the venue of the conference at the posh Serena Hotel here, Khan was at the gate to receive the dignitaries.
The two leaders barely touched their hands, not even a formal handshake, before Singh moved ahead to enter the meeting hall. Members of the Indian media, which came from New Delhi to report the conference, were not allowed to capture the moment and was kept at a distance by Pakistani officials, which led to a verbal dual between a senior Indian official and a Pakistani official.
Indian officials said the ongoing chill in Indo-Pak relations after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was clearly visible in the conference. Meanwhile, Khan said Pakistan was “committed to SAARC processes, and, desires to see it as a successful regional organisation.”
“We must do a reality check of what we have achieved so far and what still remains. It is time for us to seize the moment, to leverage our potential and overcome our choices,” he said. “We have made substantial contribution towards various SAARC processes and have taken a number of initiatives in furthering the goal of close regional integration,” he said.