India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said India would not take part in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Pakistan unless the neighbouring country “stops sponsoring terror activities”.
“We are not responding to it (the invitation by Pakistan for the summit) positively because as I said unless and until Pakistan stops terror activities in India, there will be no dialogue, so we will not participate in SAARC,” Indian media quoted her as saying while speaking at a news conference in Hyderabad.
“The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, the dialogue can start but the dialogue is not connected with only Kartarpur corridor,” Swaraj said and added, “We will not participate in Saarc [summit either].”
Swaraj, who declined Islamabad’s invite to witness the ground-breaking ceremony for the corridor and deputed two ministers to represent India at the event, said the corridor had been a long awaited.
“For many years the Indian government has been asking for this (Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan responded positively. It doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this, terror and talks can’t go together,” she said.
On the eve of the foundation stone laying ceremony, the Foreign Office in Islamabad said that the Pakistan had invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Saarc summit.
However, the Indian External Affairs Ministry on Wednesday quashed the euphoria triggered by the move, putting a dampener on hopes that it might lead to the resumption of peace talks between the two neighbours.
India has frustrated every Pakistani move for regional peace and stymied regional cooperation with its obduracy. New Delhi had pulled out of the 19th Saarc summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad in December 2016. Taking cue, its regional allies Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan also withdrew.
India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism — an allegation that New Delhi doesn’t have anything to substantiate. Islamabad, on the other hand, accuses Indian spy agency of bankrolling and sheltering Baloch terrorists. Indian spy, Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was arrested in Balochistan has confessed to India’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.