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  • Leaders meet in Nepal to strengthen ties. (Photo:Reuters)

    Leaders meet in Nepal to strengthen ties. (Photo:Reuters)

Published 26 November 2014

Leaders From South Asian nations gather in Nepal in order to strengthen regional unity. 

The South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) hosts its 18th presidential summit from this Wednesday and Thursday in Katmandu with the goal of deepening integration among the eight South Asian member nations, amid high hopes that the leaders of India and Pakistan will meet to break their diplomatic ice.

Tensions between the two countries are viewed as a major steppingstone to strengthening integration of the regional integration bloc. 

However, on the eve of the summit, Indian officials indicated that it is unlikely that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif would meet during the two-day event. 

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on his arrival here, said, "cancellation of talks was New Delhi's unilateral decision," and the "ball is now in India's court for talks between both the countries."

However, local media outlets have confirmed that newly elected Prime Minister Modi will hold bilateral meetings with all other SAARC leaders on the sidelines of the summit.  

Tensions between the two Asian giants have increased in recent months due to escalating violence along the northern Indian-Pakistani border. 

Earlier this month a total of 60 people were killed in a suicide attack near the Wagah border crossing between India and Pakistan, situated on the outskirts of Lahore. Three separate Taliban-linked militant groups claimed responsibility for the bombing. 

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