India calls on Pakistan to introspect on what relationship it wants within SAARC

| Updated: Sep 29, 2016 00:38 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 28 (ANI): With Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan following India's steps in pulling out of the forthcoming SAARC summit in Islamabad in November, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday re-iterated that the current atmosphere is not conducive to talks and called on Pakistan to introspect on the kind of relationship it wants within SAARC. The development comes in the wake of the Uri terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which has brought ties between India and Pakistan to new lows. Speaking exclusively to ANI here, MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup stated that when one head of state decides not to participate in the SAARC summit, then there is no choice but to postpone the event. "All heads of the SAARC countries have to be present for the summit. So if any one country decides not to participate, then it has to be postponed. In the current case as you know, not just India, but Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan have also written to the current chair of SAARC that is Nepal, that they are unable to participate in the summit, which means there is no option but to postpone the summit," Swarup said. However, he added that the formal announcement of this effect can only be made by Nepal after they have done their internal consultations. Containing to berate Pakistan for relentlessly pursuing a path which has led to this current decision, the MEA spokesperson emphasised that India has made it very clear that regional cooperation and terror cannot go hand-in-hand. "Our commitment to SAARC, to regional connectivity, to regional contact, regional prosperity remains intact but we cannot conceive of a SAARC summit happening at the same time as cross border terrorism continues, as cross interference in our internal affairs continues," he said. With three other countries in the region joining India in conveying the same message to Pakistan, Swarup stated that its time for Pakistan to introspect on the kind of relationship it wants within the SAARC. Earlier, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem said the prevailing situation was not conducive for holding a successful meeting, especially after the Uri terror attack. Muazzem told ANI, "Even before the Uri attack, Bangladesh did not take part at the ministerial level in both home and finance minister's conference. So, it was almost a fore grown conclusion that our Prime Minister may not attend the SAARC summit in Pakistan. But, we still have kept our options open. But after the Uri attack, the situation as it prevails in the region, we believe is not conducive towards holding a successful SAARC summit." The SAARC summit cannot take place even if one of the eight members withdraws. India yesterday announced that it would not attend the summit conveying the current SAARC Chair Nepal that in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit. (ANI)