The Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan will be in the same building in Seoul for two days attending the Nuclear Security Summit which begins on Monday but have yet to firm up plans for even a brief “pull aside” meeting, officials from both countries have said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Seoul on Saturday night and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan flew in Sunday evening. He is accompanied by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
Pakistani ambassador to South Korea Shaukat Ali Mukadam — who was invited along with other SAARC ambassadors to attend the ceremonial reception accorded to Dr. Singh on Sunday morning at the official residence of the South Korean President known as the Blue House — told reporters there was no possibility of a “structured” meeting between the two Prime Ministers because of time constraints. But this did not mean the two leaders would not meet, he added.
Indian officials said the situation in the third floor “Leaders’ Lounge” at the Convention and Expo centre where the summit will be held was likely to be highly fluid, with nearly 60 heads of state or government scheduled to attend. “I am sure the two Prime Ministers will bump into each other and have a conversation,” one official said.
If that conversation does take place, it will occur against the backdrop of improving bilateral relations, with Pakistan clearing the decks for granting India “most favoured nation” trading status.