SAARC sides with India: No one wants Pakistan as host

SAARC sides with India: No one wants Pakistan as host

The fact that there was general consensus on not having Pakistan host the summit unless the situation improves, shows that all the South Asian member nations continue to show solidarity with India and her concerns

Terrorism was one of the key issues that came up during the SAARC Ministerial Meet which was held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York on Friday. Mail Today has learnt from senior diplomats who attended the meet that Pakistan raised the issue of hosting of the SAARC Summit.

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The diplomat said, “Pakistan made the point that they would want to host the SAARC summit soon.”  But, another diplomat shared with the newspaper that one of the representatives commented, “the atmosphere right now was not conducive” to hold the summit. Everybody in the room concurred.

The fact that there was general consensus on not having Pakistan host the summit unless the situation improves, shows that all the South Asian member nations continue to show solidarity with India and her concerns.

 Mail Today spoke to diplomats and representatives of various member nations who attended the meeting to get a sense of what transpired. One of the senior officials when asked on if terrorism emanating from Pakistan was raised at the forum said, “everybody, including Pakistan, Afghanistan and India spoke on terrorism but nobody really pointed at each other on the issue. Everybody presented their case and while views on terrorism differed there was no finger pointing”.

The External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the meeting, delivered her speech and left. She did not stay for lunch. The rest of the session was conducted by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. There was no exchange of words or hand shake between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers. A diplomat expressed relief that despite the tensions all sides maintained quorum and nobody came to blows. “The atmosphere was cold but there was no open confrontation,” he said. Adding that the Indian and Pakistan side did not see this as an opportunity to move forward. “While there was no opportunity to shake hands, neither walked up to the other to say hello”, he said.

India had made its position amply clear on the SAARC Summit level meeting to be held in Pakistan. Last year, the SAARC Summit was cancelled unanimously by all the member nations after India initiated the process of boycott because of the terrible terror attacks from Pakistan for which there has been no real action taken by Islamabad. An officer involved in the SAARC process also said that there has been no real forward movement on many projects that India has advanced. “There has been no headway on those SAARC projects with Pakistan”, he said.

Read more @ indiatoday


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