Sharif, Modi wave at each other at UN peacekeeping summit

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United Nations: Amid a chill in bilateral relations, waving at each other was all that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif did today as they attended the UN peacekeeping summit.

Assembling for the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping being hosted by US President Barack Obama, Modi walked into the conference hall first. Sharif followed a few minutes later and waved at Modi. The Indian Prime Minister waved back and smiled.

Then there was a pause, after which Modi waved again and Sharif acknowledged and smiled.

The two leaders, who are in New York for UN summits, came across each other for the first time today.

At the conference, they were seated across the horse-shoe-shaped table.

Seated on Modi’s side of the table were the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other leaders from France and Indonesia.

On Sharif’s side were US President Barack Obama, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and leaders from Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Apart from the wave, there was no other interaction or gesture exchange between the two leaders. Since they reached the chamber just minutes before the summit was to begin, they took their seats and did not walk around the room to meet or greet any other leaders present.

Modi and Sharif were in the chamber for almost an hour and a half. The two leaders clapped at the end of each other’s speech.

Modi left immediately after addressing the summit. He did not walk up to any leader to shake hands. Sharif left the summit about 10-15 minutes after him.

Before taking his seat next to Indian leader, Abe had walked up to him and cordially shook his hands. Modi, sitting in his chair, also smiled back and shook hands with the Japanese leader. .

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