NEW DELHI: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, due in a long time and which was proposed by Pakistan recently, will not be held as there is “no material change in the situation” India clarified.
Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, said,"We have seen media reports regarding the Pakistan Foreign Minister's remarks about the SAARC summit. You are aware of the background as to why the SAARC summit has not to been held since 2014."
“There has been no material change in the situation since then. Therefore, there is still no consensus that would permit holding of the summit”, Bagchi added.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday had made the remarks on the SAARC summit while addressing a news conference in Islamabad, “Because of India’s obstinacy, this forum is suffering. If India does not want to come, then new means are available. I reiterate our invitation to all SAARC members and Pakistan is willing to host the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad. If India doesn’t want to come, they can attend virtually.”
Before the 19th Summit was to have been held in Islamabad in November 2016, it was called off as New Delhi pulled out after the terrorist strike in Uri terror and that was blamed on Pakistan-based terrorists. India has been reiterating to Pakistan to act against terrorist groups operating from its soil.
The other reason keeping the things in limbo is the status of Afghanistan, one of the eight members of the grouping, following the Taliban taking control of the country.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established in 1985. SAARC comprises eight Member States: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Decisions at all levels are to be taken on the basis of unanimity; and bilateral and contentious issues are excluded from the deliberations of the Association.