Ball is in Pakistan’s court: India

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, NEW DELHI

Dec 9, 2016-

India said on Thursday that the ball is in Pakistan’s court when it comes to taking forward the Saarc process.

The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation, a regional block comprising eight countries, on Thursday marked its 31st anniversary. 

The 19th Saarc Summit scheduled for November 9-10 in Islamabad of Pakistan was called off after India, and subsequently four other member states, expressed their inability to participate in the gathering. 

India’s decision to shun the summit in Islamabad followed a terrorist attack on an Indian army base in Uri. India has blamed Islamabad for nurturing terrorism. 

On Thursday, India reiterated its position that “regional environment is not conducive for holding Saarc Summit”. 

“India is committed to holding Saarc Summit but conducive environment is required for holding such summit,” Vikas Swarup, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said in a weekly press briefing in New Delhi on Thursday. “All Saarc member countries unanimously wrote to the Saarc chair, which is Nepal, informing it about the current atmosphere in which one country is promoting cross-border terrorism and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Ball is in entirely in Pakistan’s court,” said Swarup.

He added that things could move forward if Pakistan proposes other countries for holding the Saarc summit.

Pakistan has already conveyed to Nepal, the Saarc chair, that it is not ready to change the venue for Saarc Summit. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaj Sharif on Thursday lamented the postponement of Saarc summit. “Pakistan is committed to the objectives of the grouping. 

While Saarc has, albeit survived, it has not triumphed as had been envisaged, falling behind on the commitments and the promises that we had set out to achieve: progress and prosperity for the common good of our people,” Sharif said. “Pakistan had made all the preparations for the summit."

Published: 09-12-2016 09:02

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