New Delhi Correspondent
India on Wednesday made it clear that it would not attend in the SAARC Summit in Pakistan saying terror and talks cannot go on at the same time.
Asked at a press conference in soutthern Indian city of Hyderabad about Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohd Faisal’s assertion on Tuesday that his country would invite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the next SAARC Summit, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said “that invitation has already been given but we are not responding to that positively. That until and unless Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, there will be no dialogue and we will not participate in SAARC.”
She said the presence of two Indian federal ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri at the ground-breaking ceremony in Lahore today of a cross-border pilgrims corridor with India should not be seen in the context of bilateral dialogue that has remained suspended since 2013.
“See, bilateral dialogues and Kartarpur (pilgrims) corridor are two separate different things. And I am very happy that for the last 20 years, rather many years, India has been asking for the Kartarpur corridor and for the first time, Pakistan responded positively to this. But it doesn’t mean that the bilateral dialogue will start only on this.
“The bilateral talks always say that terror and talks can’t go together. The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, the dialogue can start. But the dialogue is not only connected with Kartarpur corridor,” Swaraj said.
She said the moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, the dialogue can start but the dialogue is not connected with only the Kartarpur corridor,” she said.
The last SAARC Summit was held in Kathmandu in November 2014 but the Islamabad Summit in November 2016 had to be scrapped after India refused to take part in following the attacks by Pakistan-based terrorists on an Indian Air Force base and an army camp in Indian states of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. The two incidents left 27 Indian defence personnel dead.
Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan also declined to attend the 2016 SAARC Summit which has not been held till date as official engagements between India and Pakistan remains on hold.