Imran Khan, Putin informal meeting mulls arms deal

PM Imran once again offers India to resolve all differences through dialogue

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SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT & STAFF REPORTER
ISLAMABAD/BISHKEK
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday held an informal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a dinner hosted by Kyrgyzstan president in honour of heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). He arrived here to attend the 19th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State (CHS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) being held in the capital Bishkek. During the dinner hosted by Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, the Pakistan premier and President Putin shook hands and inquired well-being of each other, according to sources. They said that PM Khan and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi entered the hall room together, but did not greet each other. The prime minister, however, shook hands with heads of other states, the sources said, adding that Khan and Modi sat in different corners of the hall room. The dinner also had arrangement of cultural programs and music of member states, they added. Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his government has been mulling purchase of arms from Moscow, given the fact that the Cold War was long over. Khan said so in an interview with Russian news agency before heading to Kyrgyzstan for the 19th SCO Summit. Asked about military cooperation between Pakistan and Russia and joint drills later this year, he said they had developed cooperation with Russia, between their defence forces, and hoped to deepen their contacts. “Most of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were spent in the Cold War region, where India was close to the Soviet Union, and Pakistan was close to the United States. We were in different camps. Now things have changed,” the Pakistan premier said. “India is also friendly with the United States, and Pakistan is also friendly with the US. So we no longer have the Cold War situation. It is refreshing that we have developed our contacts with Russia, and they are developing all the time.” Prime Minister Imran Khan once again offered India to resolve all differences through dialogue, which is the only way to sort out issues. He said there is no way that two nuclear-armed countries should think of resolving differences through military means. Imran Khan said Kashmir is the main difference between Pakistan and India and both countries should sit on the negotiating table to resolve that issue peacefully. Meanwhile, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan have agreed to strengthen land and air connectivity between the two countries. This agreement was reached at meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Sharipovich Jeenbekov on the sidelines of the SCO Summit here on Thursday.

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