India refuses to attend Saarc conference in Pakistan

Published: August 23, 2016
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PHOTO: NDTV

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PHOTO: NDTV

ISLAMABAD: Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will not travel to Pakistan for this week’s ministerial conference of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, officials said on Tuesday.

In a latest sign of simmering tensions between the two neighbours, diplomatic sources confirmed to The Express Tribune that the Indian finance secretary will not represent his country at the SAARC finance ministers meeting in Islamabad on August 25.

Kashmir unrest: SAARC summit shrouded in uncertainty

The decision to not send Jaitley suggests growing tensions between the two countries.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was believed to have been ready to receive his Indian counterpart at the airport in an attempt to create a better atmosphere for the SAARC conference.

Earlier this month, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh traveled to Islamabad to attend the SAARC interior ministers meeting. However, his visited ended in more hostilities between the two neighbours as they used the SAARC platform to accuse each other over the ongoing violence in Indian controlled Kashmir.

The Indian decision to downgrade its representation at the SAARC finance ministers meeting is seen as a setback and may not augur well for the summit that Pakistan is set to host in November.

Rest in peace SAARC: The tug of war between India and Pakistan

The fate of the key regional summit is shrouded in uncertainty due to a seething diplomatic tiff between Pakistan and India over unabated brutalities of Indian security forces in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

The Saarc summit is scheduled to take place in Islamabad in November. Though the meeting is more than two months away, Pakistani officials are unsure if it will go ahead as planned in the wake of escalating tensions between Pakistan and India.

India, like other countries, had earlier confirmed its participation, said the official who spoke to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media on the record.

Since 2004, this is the first time Pakistan is hosting the Saarc summit. The then Indian prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, had travelled to Islamabad after months of tensions between the two countries. Vajpayee’s meeting with President Gen Pervez Musharraf on the fringes of the summit led to a major breakthrough as the two sides agreed to resume bilateral dialogue to discuss all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

The problem with SAARC

However, this time the situation appears to be different as relations between the two countries have gone from bad to worse over the past few weeks. The main cause of friction is the ongoing unrest in Indian Kashmir. New Delhi is upset over Islamabad’s ‘aggressive diplomacy’ on Kashmir by highlighting human rights violations being committed by Indian security forces in the disputed valley.

In an attempt to counter Pakistan’s move, Indian Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech accused Islamabad of committing human rights violation in Balochistan.

Kashmir not internal problem of India: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

Officials said Modi’s rhetoric suggested that he might not travel to Pakistan for the Saarc summit. However, officials said a visit of India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitely for this week’s Saarc ministerial conference in Islamabad would give a clear indication whether or not Modi would participate in the summit.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Vectra
    Aug 23, 2016 - 2:03PM

    Earler Bangladesh had also not send it minister to SAARC now India to is not sending.With 2 members of SAARC out i am guissing if this SAARC summit in Islamabad is success.Btw there is possibility that if India will opt out of SAARC meet on PM level too then there are chances that Afganistn might also skip although i am not sure.Over all not good and Mr Chaudry Nisar should not have insulted India’s home minister as Pakistan itself was a host this time.And if at all Mr Chaudry Nisar had to say something to Mr Rajnath then he should have waited till the summit gets over and then would have said i think so.Any body can differ with me.Recommend

  • point
    Aug 23, 2016 - 2:32PM

    Largest democracy :P Oxford really needs to redefine democracyRecommend

  • Point ki to
    Aug 23, 2016 - 2:57PM

    @ point yes experts from Oxford maybe need to visit pakistan to re learn how democracy works..Recommend

  • whatever
    Aug 23, 2016 - 3:00PM

    @point: lol other democratic cricketing nations are too boycotting Pakistan cause terrorists are roaming and doing rally freely without any fear from the law of the land. Pakistan is on 14th position in list of failed states.Recommend

  • Yasser
    Aug 23, 2016 - 3:09PM

    Thank You Chaudhry Nisar for denting and derailing the Indo-Pak relationsRecommend

  • salman
    Aug 23, 2016 - 3:23PM

    Just like OIC, SAARC summit is a waste and all the other South Asian countries are Indian puppets anyways. Pakistan should seriously consider SAARCexit for good. Pakistan-Turkey-China and perhaps Iran cooperation is the way forward for strategic and economic purpose. Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Aug 23, 2016 - 3:34PM

    I suggest you look up the meaning of democracy in the Oxford dictionary firstRecommend

  • Haramullah
    Aug 23, 2016 - 3:46PM

    Do agree with you.Recommend

  • jay
    Aug 23, 2016 - 3:48PM

    How many times Pakistan is going to change camps ? 1st USA then you jump to KSA Now China , next what Martians ? MartiansRecommend

  • Libra
    Aug 23, 2016 - 3:53PM

    What Pakistan Interior Minister Ch. Nisar said is very true and correct. Telling truth always burn Indians. They never say truth and also do not want truth.Recommend

  • Menon
    Aug 23, 2016 - 4:40PM

    Pay should be expelled from the SAARC for fomenting terrorism in the neighborhood.Recommend

  • M. Emad
    Aug 23, 2016 - 4:45PM

    Sheikh Hasina’s Bangladesh government already boycotted any SAARC conference in Pakistan and now preparing its ‘Balochistan Policy’. Recommend

  • onlooker
    Aug 23, 2016 - 4:52PM

    What the truth Ch. Nisar spilled by the way? Pakistanis are bad hosts? Recommend

  • SHAH
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:06PM

    @onlooker: ; OK, so dont come; No need to attend in Pakistan; Your dipshit Rajnath ran away as he had no courage to hear the truth and the killing he was doing of women and children in the sovereign state of J&K; It is time to get rid of this SAARC nuisance and false brotherhood which Hindus-tan wants to dominate;Recommend

  • onlooker
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:10PM

    Pakistan’s contribution to SAARC is negligible and all other countries are co-operating each others to work for a better future. It is time to seriously consider whether a country like Pakistan is worthy for such groupings. Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:28PM

    Good Riddance Recommend

  • Fahad Hussain
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:46PM

    Now thanks Pakistan will remain Paak .Recommend

  • Aditya
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:52PM

    Seriously, isn’t that what Pakistan wants? First, they protest to allow Indian Home Minister to attend multilateral summit (of which India is a part). Then sabotage the summit to pursue personal agenda. Well done Pakistan! You are an excellent host? BTW, will the Pak FM skip the lunch this time?Recommend

  • Whatacountry
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:53PM

    Things are moving as planned between Our enemies within and without. Rangers and Army has been taken for a ride. Farooq Sattar takes all Pakistanis as nincompoops as does Modi take Bharatis. This has happened with the approval of our Federal and Provincial governments. They want to ” save democracy”. This implies freeloading by MPAs and MNAs will continue. All this will change if MQM are banned and there will be a new dispensation till next Elections. This will send all moneylaunderers home for good.Recommend

  • buga
    Aug 23, 2016 - 6:30PM

    Not surprising – Nisar was lousy host.Recommend

  • Khan
    Aug 23, 2016 - 6:57PM

    Another good move by Pakistan……….Pakistan Zindabad.

    Excellent work Ch. Nisar…..Recommend

  • Amit
    Aug 23, 2016 - 7:18PM

    @Point ki to:
    So again Pakistan starts begging this time to Oxford for changing the definition of democracy that is as ” a nation directly or indirectly ruled by armed forces”.Recommend

  • Mime
    Aug 23, 2016 - 7:37PM

    Even IMF meeting of Pakistan held in Dubai. Dubai is also home for Pakistan cricket. Now, Pakistan should seriously consider to make Dubai for all these of conferences.Recommend

  • Zen
    Aug 23, 2016 - 7:47PM

    Have you ever wondered why SAARC, Iran and Afghanistan are India’s puppets and not not the nuclear Pakistan?Recommend

  • B
    Aug 23, 2016 - 8:01PM

    Before he retires in November, his party, PTI will be at the helm.Recommend

  • Saad
    Aug 23, 2016 - 8:06PM

    Pakistan is isolated everywhere.Recommend

  • tera baap
    Aug 23, 2016 - 8:31PM


    iran is indian puppet? hahaha..SAARC is not an indian puppet and pakistan holds considerable sway except for bangladesh which who cares what they do. hahahaha…keep your ego in line veggie eater. Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Aug 23, 2016 - 9:18PM

    What ex President Musharraf said is also true when he said:
    “Today we (Muslims) are the poorest, the most illiterate, the most backward, the most unhealthy, the most un-enlightened, the most deprived, and the weakest of all the human race”
    Notice, he said “most backward” and “most illiterate”. That makes you and me to be more stupid than Indians.
    Sad but true if Mr Musharraf is to be believed.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Aug 23, 2016 - 11:26PM

    That’s the move of a politician…..a statesman would have done the opposite. Recommend

  • Black Hawk
    Aug 24, 2016 - 12:13AM

    Pakistan is an obstacle to the progress of SAARC countries. India needs to modify SAARC by expelling Pakistan from the organization & including Iran in it. I’m sure all other SAARC members will back this change.Recommend

  • Fahad
    Aug 24, 2016 - 12:50AM

    Whatever CH nisar said is right i support him, if indian don’t want relations then why should we run afte them..?? We should reply in the same tone in which they talk.., if someone dnt have that shame that he comes eat and sleep here but at the same time criticize and abuse us..?? What kind of guest he is..?? He should have not come, only problem they have is that y we highlighted Kashmir oj international level why we exposed their cruelties, crimes against humanity.., if we have to maintain relations those should only be on the basis of equality. Do respect have respect, other wise get a kick on ur buttsRecommend

  • Ganda bacha
    Aug 24, 2016 - 2:33AM

    Shame on ch.Nisar for providing a chance to Modi to run away which he so wanted to do.Recommend

  • np
    Aug 24, 2016 - 2:49AM


    Inviting guests for lunch and then insulting them by not attending the luncheon themselves as Ch. Nissar did? How rude is that? What is statesmanly about putting up with such disrespect?

    @tera baap:

    It is not Zen who implied that Iran and SAARC were Indian puppets but rather Salman, whom Zen was responding to.Recommend

  • np
    Aug 24, 2016 - 2:51AM

    @Black Hawk:
    For al practical purposes that is already happening. India is collaborating with Iran and Afganistan on Chabahar port, it is collaborating on power projects with Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, India and Nepal are collaborating on a highway linking India to Thailand.Recommend

  • Kolsat
    Aug 24, 2016 - 3:07AM

    Relations between Pakistan and India have soured because of pakistan’s overt support for Kashmiri Islamists and also Pakistan’s refusal to punish the perpetrators of mumbai and Pathankot attacks. The Government of Pakistan has to decidewhether they want peace or follow the delusions of Army and ISI.d Recommend

  • Nana
    Aug 24, 2016 - 3:54AM

    Unfortunately from singer Fatte Ali, Fawad Khan to Marwa Hoccane wants to run towards India for work. Even Foreign Minister runs to India to get his book published & for marketing it creates a drama of his host blackening his face as a movie costume.Recommend

  • Hypocrite
    Aug 25, 2016 - 1:14AM

    In connivance with Modi. Two of the same kind, God help the world.@M. Emad: Recommend

  • kadwa sach
    Aug 29, 2016 - 3:47AM

    Since Pakistan is bent on disrupting the SAARC community and the rest of the members feel that it is holding it ransom to Pakistan’s agenda, there is no point in holding this summit in Islamabad. SAARC’s principles also clearly postulate that bilateral issues shall not be raised or discussed at this regional group’s meetings. The other SAARC members, including India, should use the embedded mechanism to expel a member state which violates the principles. If Pakistan does not withdraw gracefully from SAARC, then the other members have no alternative but to expel it. Pakistan’s expulsion will ensure prosperity and development in South Asia. Pakistan is the biggest impediment. It also has very little or absolutely zero cooperation with the remaining SAARC countries. . Recommend

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