India pulls out of SAARC summit in Islamabad

Published: September 27, 2016
In this handout photograph received from the Indian Press Information Bureau (PIB) on November 27, 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) shakes hands with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the 18th SAARC Summit in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.  PHOTO: AFP

In this handout photograph received from the Indian Press Information Bureau (PIB) on November 27, 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) shakes hands with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the 18th SAARC Summit in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu. PHOTO: AFP

In wake of recent escalation of tensions between the nuclear-arch rivals, India has officially pulled out of the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) conference to be held in Islamabad.

“Regional cooperation and terror don’t go together. India pulls out of Saarc summit in Islamabad,” spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said in a statement.

“The Indian government has informed the 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,” the communique added.

The Saarc group includes India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

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Vowing to remain steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, the Indian government said it believed an atmosphere “free of terror” was the only way to move forward.

“In the prevailing circumstances the government of India is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad. We also understand that some other Saarc member states have also conveyed their reservation about attending the Islamabad summit in November 2016.”

The announcement came hours after Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar claimed that two guides from Muzaffarabad facilitated attackers who killed 18 Indian army men in earlier this month in Kashmir’s Uri sector.

The assault, in which four commando-style gunmen burst into the brigade headquarters in Uri at 5:30 am (midnight GMT) on September 18, was among the deadliest in held Kashmir and has sharply ratcheted up tension between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Two Muzaffarabad guides facilitated Uri attack, claims India

In a knee-jerk reaction to the attack on the brigade headquarters, India’s civil and military leaders squarely blamed Pakistan with media commentators calling for a military response. Pakistan, however, dismissed the Indian allegations as ‘baseless and unwarranted’.

The two neighbours have been at odds since July 8 when a populist Kashmiri rebel leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani was killed by Indian forces. At least 100 demonstrators have so far been killed due to the occupied military’s indiscriminate use of force against Kashmiri masses.

India’s withdrawal unfortunate: Foreign Office

In response, the Foreign Office termed India’s withdrawal as “unfortunate”.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Fitoor
    Sep 27, 2016 - 9:30PM

    Petty hearts will always remain small. Not surprising.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Sep 27, 2016 - 9:34PM

    Government sources say that three other countries have also pulled out — Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

    Afghanistan’s ambassador to India had told NDTV last week that it was willing to consider a joint boycott of the summit along with India and other SAARC members.

    This now means the summit cannot take place.Recommend

  • Maqsood A Kayani
    Sep 27, 2016 - 9:35PM

    Now that India haa pulled out of SAARC summit in Islamabad, it’s close friends, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are sure to follow. This Indo-Bangla-Afghan grouping is defeating the very purpose of the SAARC grouping. Now, in my opinion, in SAARC only two countries remain that matter for Pakistan i.e Sri Lanka and Maldives. I suggest Pakistan should leave SAARC and form a separate group with Sri Lanka and Maldives.Recommend

  • M. Emad
    Sep 27, 2016 - 9:50PM

    A month ago Sheikh Hasina pulls out of 19th SAARC summit in Islamabad. Recommend

  • Srinivasulu Mekala
    Sep 27, 2016 - 10:02PM

    Excellent decision.Recommend

  • Counterpoint
    Sep 27, 2016 - 10:21PM

    I doubt Srilanka will come. Nepal, I doubt.
    Only country left now is Maldives.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Sep 27, 2016 - 10:24PM

    @Maqsood A Kayani:
    But 1st them id they are ready to leave SAARC as well and form separate grouping with Pakistan??Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Sep 27, 2016 - 10:54PM

    I would like to see India leading a regional alliance of SAARC minus Pakistan and this alliance having close alliance with USA. Recommend

  • S2
    Sep 27, 2016 - 11:19PM

    Congratulations to India, they also have the support of two economic and military world superpowers: Afghanistan and Bangladesh. LolRecommend

  • Pukhtoon
    Sep 27, 2016 - 11:21PM

    @Raj – USA
    There must be a lot you “like to see” and never will. InshaAllah. Keep daydreaming.Recommend

  • SB
    Sep 27, 2016 - 11:27PM

    @Maqsood A Kayani: , Fully support youRecommend

  • Saurav Thakur
    Sep 27, 2016 - 11:36PM

    @Maqsood A Kayani:
    Actually Lanka is also pulling out, there is one more country Bhutan and they are also pulling out. So it’s just Pakistan and MaldivesRecommend

  • Amit
    Sep 28, 2016 - 12:26AM

    @Maqsood A Kayani:
    This will be best for entire region and we should also put a clause that the member on one organisation cannot be a member of other.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 28, 2016 - 12:57AM

    If one looks at it realistically SAARC never mattered in the fist place…….so if there is no conference it really matters not. Recommend

  • Tom
    Sep 28, 2016 - 1:59AM

    India is starting an organization with all SAARC countries except Pakistan which will also include Thailand and Myanmar for regional connectivity.Recommend

  • Disgusting
    Sep 28, 2016 - 7:21AM

    Indeed Suchma terror and regional cooperation don’t go togather but then why did you kill Wani? And you being a mother don’t feel a thing about gun-pellets terrorism on humans by your ‘brave’ Army who can’t defend themselves from young people fighting for freedom? To top it all you totally forgot that Kashmir is a territory in dispute? Recommend

  • amir sehgal
    Sep 28, 2016 - 7:30AM

    What is SAARC??? please stop it and dump it in Bangladesh, where it began from,Useless, waist of time and money of poor people of the region.Recommend

  • Hassan Ali
    Sep 28, 2016 - 8:18AM

    Should both countries not be focusing on improving the quality of life of it’s citizensRecommend

  • Vectra
    Sep 28, 2016 - 8:32AM

    Man no organization in this world big or small are useless.Its only perceptions and you must be unaware of the fact that SAARC is one of the top fastest growing region in this world so unfortunately if Pakistan is left out it is a big blow whether one like or not.Look at other SAARC derivatives like BIMSTEC & BBIM corridor which are thriving but have all the SAARC members sans Pakistan.So it depends if Pakistan take the benefit of these organization or not.Accordingly if it matter you or not will be will be analyzed and seen.Recommend

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