New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation(SAARC) Summit in Islamabad in November amidst heightened tension between India and Pakistan.
Announcing the decision on Tuesday night, India said that “one country” has created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the summit.
“India has conveyed to current SAARC Chair Nepal that increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country have created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016,” External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
“In the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad,” it said.
“We also understand that some other SAARC member states have also conveyed their reservation about attending the Islamabad Summit in November 2016,” it said.
According to sources, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan are the other countries which have said no to attending the Summit.
In its communication to Nepal, India has said it remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in an atmosphere free of terror.
The announcement came on a day Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar issued a second demarche to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit over September 18 Uri attack and confronted him with proof of “cross-border origins” of the terror strike in which 18 jawans were killed.
The attack has triggered a strong response from India which has reviewed the 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty (IWT), and decide to reconsider the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status granted by it, unilaterally, to Pakistan.
The Foreign Secretary called in Basit on Tuesday and told him that the preliminary interrogation reveals identity of one of the slain Uri attackers as Hafiz Ahmed, son of Feroz and resident of Dharbang, Muzaffarabad of Pakistan-administered-Kashmir.
The two countries have been engaged in a verbal duel at the United Nations with India calling Pakistan a “terrorist state” and a global epicentre of terror.