India Abroad

Due To Current State Of Cross-Border Terrorism, SAARC Summit Is Unlikely: India

| April 8 , 2018 , 11:38 IST

The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) initiative is typically scheduled every 2 years, but has been absent since 2014 after the 2016 Summit in Pakistan was cancelled after India's boycott of the event due to the Uri attack.

During a discussion between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli who is currently in India for a 3-day visit, PM Modi expressed enthusiasm at having participated in the 2014 SAARC Summit in Kathmandu. However, PM Modi ruled out a new summit, citing Pakistan's continuing support to cross-border terrorism.

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"The prime minister (Modi) mentioned that he very enthusiastically participated in the Kathmandu (SAARC) summit, but given the current state of play where there is cross-border terrorism - and this is a disruptive force in the region. It is difficult in such circumstances to proceed with such initiatives," foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters.

The 18th SAARC Summit was held in Kathmandu in 2014 and was attended by the prime ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, and the presidents of the Afghanistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

The 19th SAARC Summit was scheduled to take place in Islamabad in 2016, but after the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18, 2016 India boycotted the Summit in Pakistan. After India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the SAARC summit in Islamabad, resulting in the Summit being 'postponed' indefinitely.

Pakistan has been facing pressure from the international community, especially from the US, to take action against safe havens for terrorists on its soil, which are accused of causing disturbances in the South Asian region overall.