India FM walks out of SAARC meet before Pakistan statement

Published: September 28, 2018
Shah Mehmood Qureshi adressing the Atlantic Council in New York on September 27, 2018. PHOTO:INP/FILE

Shah Mehmood Qureshi adressing the Atlantic Council in New York on September 27, 2018. PHOTO:INP/FILE

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi termed India an impediment to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s (SAARC) progress after his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, left a SAARC meeting before hearing Pakistan’s statement.

Qureshi was speaking to the media after an annual ministerial meeting of SAARC on the sidelines of the 73rd UNGA. The meeting was hosted and chaired by the foreign minister of Nepal and was attended by the foreign ministers of SAARC member states.

Alluding to India, the foreign minister said one country’s behaviour was a barrier to regional connectivity and well-being and added that the regional cooperation body has been unable to make significant progress.

When asked if he spoke to his Indian counterpart, Qureshi said Swaraj left in the middle of the SAARC meeting. He also said he paid careful attention to her statement and call for regional cooperation but how could such an objective be possible when India was acting as a barrier to said cooperation.

“The foreign minister emphasised that one country was holding the 1.7 billion people of South Asia hostage, while making vague statements and unsubstantiated, whimsical allegations. The SAARC summit has already been delayed by two years, with no end in sight,” said a statement by the Foreign Office (FO).

Twitter reacts as India cancels foreign ministers’ meeting

Earlier, the Indian external affairs ministry had confirmed that foreign ministers of Pakistan and India would meet on the sidelines of the UNGA session, but the Narendra Modi-led government backed out of the talks a day later.

The Indian foreign ministry said the talks were called off after the “latest brutal killings of security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of twenty postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism”. It did not provide further details about the alleged killings.

Reacting to the cancellation of talks, FM Qureshi said India had not responded positively to Pakistan’s invitation for dialogue. “It seems that India is already preparing for its elections due in the country next year,” he said. “Pakistan had asked for the talks in the larger interest of the region.”

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Frank
    Sep 28, 2018 - 5:11PM

    ‘Regional connectivity’ is the neo-liberal mantra of big business and robber barons. They are ones who benefit from it while the common man is crushed.Recommend

  • Amir
    Sep 28, 2018 - 5:30PM

    SAARC needs t o be disbanded and Pakistan should negotiate direclty bilateral agreements with individual nations. Progress will be many fold and if we remain in SAArC india will keep throwing spanners and stopping progress.

    Minus 1 formula required hereRecommend

  • Sunil
    Sep 28, 2018 - 8:30PM

    Pakistan is known for playing games in the name of peace. What India wants “conductive environment” Pakistan doesnt emphasize. Pakistan is well known for backstab by Mushaaraf when Vajpayee went by bus to Lahore for peace.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Sep 28, 2018 - 10:01PM

    distance begets distance . both countries should act mature and talk at every possible opportunity even if does not lead to one step further . stay connected I say .Recommend

  • jun
    Sep 29, 2018 - 6:32AM

    @Bunny Rabbit: please,say this to India.UN is comedy on this planet,while socalled SAARC is some another standup comedy show of brown people.If India has to walkout anyway,why attend in first place?Recommend

  • Ghasam Zaidi
    Sep 29, 2018 - 12:46PM

    Both SAARC as well as the Commonwealth, but more the former, serve no real purpose for Pakistan. OIC is another jokers convention, but I guess walking away from that would be asking too much.Recommend

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