14 April 2010

All eyes on Manmohan, Gilani handshake

A brief handshake and the exchange of pleasantries...

14 April 2010
The Hindu

All eyes were on Manmohan, Gilani handshake

Siddharth Varadarajan

Washington: Among all possible gestural permutations when 47 world leaders gather together in one room, the meeting of hands which everyone seemed to be waiting for was between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani.

The two Prime Ministers met at the Walter E. Washington convention centre in downtown Washington, venue of the Nuclear Security Summit which got under way on Monday evening with a reception hosted by President Barack Obama.

Prime Minister Gilani strode up to Dr. Singh and the two men greeted each other warmly.

According to Vishnu Prakash, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Dr. Singh and Mr. Gilani “exchanged pleasantries.” As he was himself not present, he was unable to add any further details, despite being peppered with questions by enthusiastic reporters.

This was Dr. Singh and Mr. Gilani's first encounter since their July 2009 interaction on the sidelines of the Nonaligned Summit at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao ruled out the possibility of Prime Minister Singh meeting formally with Mr. Gilani in Washington. But Indian officials say the two leaders are likely to meet each other in Thimphu later this month during the SAARC summit and have a more substantive interaction than Monday's handshake, warm and effusive though it appears to have been.

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