ISLAMBAD: India’s decision to derail the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit effectively contradicts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to fight against poverty in the region, said the Foreign Office (FO) on Friday.
“India’s decision to abstain from the summit on the basis of unfounded assumptions on the Uri incident is a futile effort to divert attention of the world from the atrocities perpetrated by India in occupied Kashmir,” said Nafees Zakaria, spokesperson for the Foreign Office.
The FO also said Pakistan attaches great importance to regional cooperation under the Saarc umbrella and it is committed to Saarc objectives for promoting the welfare of people in the South Asian region.
“Pakistan remains committed to hosting the 19th Saarc Summit at Islamabad at the earliest so that the objectives of regional cooperation under the Saarc umbrella can be pursued more vigorously,” added Zakaria.
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New dates for hosting the 19th Saarc summit will be announced soon after consultation “with the Chair of Saarc”.
“Accordingly, we have conveyed the same to the Prime Minister of Nepal, the current Chair of Saarc.”
The FO spokesperson stated that all preparations for holding a successful summit had been made, and the prime minister of Pakistan was looking forward to host the delegations.
India pulls out, others follow suit
Earlier this week, India decided to pull out of the upcoming Saarc summit to be held in Islamabad. The announcement came through the Twitter account of India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
The Indian statement added that under the prevailing circumstances, India is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.
Following India’s announcement, Bangladesh said it was also pulling out.
Afghanistan and Bhutan – both close India allies – also followed suit. The FO termed India’s attitude as negative.
According to the eight-member body’s charter, the conference is postponed should any member state decline to participate.
In one of the worst episodes of cross-border firing along the Line of Control, at least two Pakistan Army soldiers were killed as Indian troops opened fire on the first line of defence.
India also claimed to have performed a surgical strike by crossing the disputed boundary. The Indian claims were rubbished by Pakistan Army.
ater it emerged that an Indian soldier was captured by the Pakistan army, while Indian soldiers were also killed in the episode of firing across the LoC.
An Indian army official based in New Delhi said, “It is confirmed one soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles with weapons has inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control”.