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Modi-Sharif bonhomie face-saver for Saarc

Modi-Sharif bonhomie face-saver for Saarc
Highlights

In a handshake that gave a huge boost to Saarc and floundering regional cooperation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shook hands with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, laughed and even patted him on the arm at the closing ceremony of the organisation\'s 18th summit here Thursday

Kathmandu: In a handshake that gave a huge boost to Saarc and floundering regional cooperation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shook hands with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, laughed and even patted him on the arm at the closing ceremony of the organisation's 18th summit here Thursday – to resounding applause from a relieved audience comprising leaders, diplomats and officials from the eight South Asian countries. But India cautioned against reading too much into such "courtesies".

The effect of the informal talks was immediately reflected in the proposed agreements. The heads of the state and government agreed to sign the Saarc Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation and decided to sign two other pacts – motor vehicle and railway agreements – within three months, a big face-saver for 18th Saarc Summit host Nepal in particular and the region as a whole.

"Let's not read too many things into courtesies that are being extended," Indian External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said on the brief interaction between Modi and Sharif.

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