ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan has never planned to attend his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s oath-taking on May 30 and Islamabad is not surprised at New Delhi’s keeping him out of the guest list, officials here said on Tuesday.

Close aides of the PM told The Nation that PM Khan would have thought twice before going to New Delhi for Modi’s oath-taking, had he been invited.

“There was no plan to attend the oath-taking even if (Imran Khan was) invited. The telephone call (to Modi by Imran Khan) was all we planned and executed. We definitely want result oriented talks. At such ceremonies, we hardly have serious talks,” said a federal minister.

Another aide of the prime minister said Imran Khan was ready to hold talks with Modi anywhere. “We have a principled stance on the dialogue process. If Modi has not invited us, we will not back out,” he added.

Earlier, the foreign minister tried to downplay India’s decision not to invite Imran Khan for Modi’s swearing-in. “India’s internal politics did not permit him to extend an invitation,” he said.

On May 27, India had announced in New Delhi that it had invited leaders from Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation-member countries to Prime Minister Modi’s inauguration, leaving out Pakistan, which is not a member of the regional grouping.

Islamabad not surprised over PM’s exclusion from guest list

The BIMSTEC comprises Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

Reacting to the reports that India had not invited Prime Minister Khan to Modi’s inauguration, Qureshi said a meeting for the sake of dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir issue, as well as Siachen and Sir Creek disputes, would have been a significant measure instead of attending the swearing-in ceremony.

“His (Prime Minister Modi’s) entire focus (during the election campaign) was on Pakistan-bashing. It was unwise to expect that he can get rid of this narrative (soon),” Qureshi said.

In 2014, then PM Nawaz Sharif had attended Prime Minister Modi’s swearing-in held on May 26 in New Delhi when the leaders of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation-member countries were invited.

Qureshi said Modi had congratulated Khan after he won the general election last year and wrote a letter as well. Prime Minister Khan, breaking the ice in bilateral ties, spoke to his Indian counterpart Modi over the telephone and expressed his desire to work together for the betterment of their peoples.

Online adds: Prime Minister Imran Khan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modhi will meet on June 13 and June 14 on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan.

A set of matters including resumption of talks will be discussed during the meeting.

Indian media has reported that meeting between Prime Ministers of both countries will be held at sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan will also congratulate Modhi once again on his election as Indian prime minister.