India won’t participate in SAARC meet in Pakistan

India won’t participate in SAARC meet in Pakistan: Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India would not participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Pakistan.

She was responding to a question on Pakistan’s invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Pakistan for the summit. “We are not responding to it positively,” she said at a press conference in Hyderabad, where she arrived for campaigning for the Telangana Assembly elections.

Ms. Swaraj said, “Unless and until Pakistan stops terrorism activities in India, there will be no dialogue and we will not participate in SAARC”. She had visited Pakistan once and it was she who started the comprehensive bilateral dialogue, she noted. “ But what happened after that? Pathankot happened and Uri happened. We have to take a big picture.”

Sushma Swaraj

The Pathankot incident was a terrorist attack by a heavily armed group against Pathankot Air Force Station part of the Western Air Command in January 2016 when a civilian and many security personnel were killed.

The Minister said the Kartarpur corridor initiative and bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan were two different things.

India had been asking for a corridor, which will facilitate visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan for many years and she was happy that Pakistan had for the first time responded positively.

“I am happy for the two-decade-long demand [for a link between two Sikh shrines in Punjab of India and Kartarpur in Pakistan]. But terror and talks cannot go together,” she said, responding to a query on whether the Kartarpur corridor initiative will have the potential to bring peace between the two countries.

Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the Ravi river, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. The corridor is expected to be completed within six months.

-PTI, HYDERABAD, NOVEMBER 28, 2018

SAARC Summit in Islamabad likely to be cancelled

Big blow to Pakistan as SAARC Summit in Islamabad likely to be cancelled after India, 3 other countries boycott

Big blow to Pakistan as SAARC Summit in Islamabad likely to be cancelled after India, 3 other countries boycott

In a big diplomatic snub to Pakistan, the 19th SAARC Summit, due to be held in Islamabad on November 9-10, stands cancelled. The official confirmation, however, is still awaited.

Notably, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan – four of the eight members of the South Asian grouping – have pulled out of the summit, citing incitement of terrorism in the region.

Nepal, the current Chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, has not made an official announcement of cancellation as yet. However, sources at SAARC Secretariat have told that the summit has been cancelled and it will now take place next year. Current SAARC Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who is currently in New York and will return in two days, will make the announcement soon.

Earlier, Pakistan tried to put a brave face and said it would go ahead and host the event in November. Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria was quoted as saying that it was learnt from the Indian External Affairs Ministry’s tweet that India is not going to participate in the SAARC Summit, a decision he called “unfortunate”. The spokesperson also said Pakistan is committed to regional peace and will continue working for the broader interest of the people of the region, according to the report.

Separately, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said India is making a propaganda to foil the conference, according to Pakistan Today newspaper.

With the SAARC process based on consensus, even if one member does not attend, the summit is automatically postponed or cancelled. In this case, half of the eight-nation regional bloc has decided to skip the event, forcing the event to be called off.

Sri Lanka has already said that the SAARC Summit would not be possible without India’s participation.

India on Tuesday announced that it was pulling out of the Islamabad summit in the wake of the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army base in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir, which New Delhi has blamed on terrorists based in Pakistan.

The Uri attack came amid the dragging unrest and violence in Kashmir Valley that has left around 90 people dead since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani on July 8.

In a statement on Tuesday, India said increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of SAARC member-states “by one country” have created an environment that was not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th SAARC summit.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that India has conveyed to Nepal its decision not to attend the summit, for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to go.

In its message to Nepal on Tuesday, Afghanistan said that because of “increased level of violence and fighting as a result of imposed terrorism on Afghanistan, President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani with his responsibilities as the Commander in Chief will be fully engaged, and will not be able to attend the summit”.

In a similar message to Nepal, Bangladesh said: “The growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by one country has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016.”

“Bangladesh, as the initiator of the SAARC process, remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in a more congenial atmosphere,” the message said.

“In view of the above, Bangladesh is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.”

Bhutan, in its message, cited “the recent escalation of terrorism in the region” as the reason for its non-participation.

-September 28, 2016, New Delhi

India will not participate in SAARC summit in Pakistan

India will not participate in SAARC summit in Pakistan

Narendra Modi govt's big decision - India decides not to participate in SAARC summit in Pakistan

In a significant development, India has decided not to participate in SAARC summit in Islamabad in wake of deadly terror attack in Uri that killed eighteen soldiers.

The Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday that in the prevailing circumstances, the government of India was unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.

It also pointed out that regional cooperation and terror don’t go together.

“India conveyed to current SAARC Chair Nepal that increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in internal affairs of Member States by one country created environment that is not conducive to successful holding of summit in Islamabad,” MEA said.

 MEA added, “India remains steadfast in commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity but believes that it can only go forward in atmosphere free of terror.”

Other countries skipping the summit in Pakistan are Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan,ANI quoted sources as saying.

The 19th SAARC summit is scheduled to be held in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad from November 9 to 10, 2016.

India confronts Pak envoy with proof, issues second demarche

Meanwhile, earlier today, for the second time in less than ten days, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar issued a demarche to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit over Uri attack.

The FS called in Basit and told him that the preliminary interrogation reveals identity of one of the slain Uri attackers as Hafiz Ahmed, son of Feroz and resident of Dharbang, Muzaffarabad and also gives details of Pakistan- based handlers,

This is the second time since the attack on September 18 that the Pakistani envoy has been summoned over the terror strike which India maintains was carried out by Pakistan-based terror groups.

New Delhi has already offered to provide Pakistan with fingerprints and DNA samples of terrorists killed in Uri and Poonch, if that country wished to investigate these cross-border attacks.

During the earlier summoning on September 21, Jaishankar had also shown Basit the content of GPS recovered from the bodies of terrorists with coordinates that indicate the point and time of infiltration across the LoC and the subsequent route to the terror attack site and grenades with Pakistani markings as evidence of Pakistan’s role, as per PTI.

Today’s summoning comes amidst India weighing the options to hit back at Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri attack. After a review of Indus Water Treaty (IWT), the government is also planning to review the MFN status granted by it, unilaterally, to Pakistan.

During the review of IWT, the government decided to take a number of steps including to “exploit to the maximum” the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water sharing pact and suspension of IWT Commission meeting till the atmosphere was “free of terror”.

-September 27, 2016, New Delhi

After Pakistan blacks out his speech, Rajnath Singh skips SAARC lunch

After Pakistan blacks out his speech, Rajnath Singh skips SAARC lunch

After Pakistan blacks out his speech, Rajnath Singh skips SAARC lunch; briefs PM Modi in Delhi

 Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday arrived back in New Delhi after skipping a lunch hosted by his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. His scheduled news conference at Delhi airport was also cancelled.

Khan had organised the lunch for the visiting dignitaries, who were here to attend the seventh SAARC Interior/Home Ministers’ conference, and had scheduled it after the main meeting.

However, the Pakistani Interior Minister left the venue immediately after the meeting got over despite being the host of the lunch. Singh then took the decision to skip the lunch.

 The Home Minister later had his lunch at his hotel room along with the members of the accompanying Indian delegation. After the lunch, Singh left for India.

The ongoing strain in Indo-Pak relations was also evident at the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers’ conference here when Singh came face-to-face with Khan for the first time today and the two leaders barely shook hands.

As Singh arrived at the venue of the conference at the posh Serena Hotel here, Khan was at the gate to receive the dignitaries. The two leaders barely touched their hands, not even a formal handshake, before Singh moved ahead to enter the meeting hall.

After returning to India, the home minister said that he would unfold the facts relating to his visit to Parliament.

Evading media pressure, Singh said that he had placed India`s point of view across Pakistan, adding all information can be gathered from his speech which is now in the public domain.

However, the Home Minister briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his visit to Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, Singh, in a strong message to Pakistan, said there should be no glorification of terrorists as martyrs and also called for “strongest action” against nations supporting terrorism.

Without mincing any words, Singh told the Interior/Home Ministers Conference of SAARC countries that mere condemnation of terrorism and terrorists is not enough.

Singh’s comments in his speech came against the backdrop of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s praise of Burhan Wani who was killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir on July 8 and his description of Hizbul Mujahideen commander as a martyr, much to India`s ire.

“There should be no glorification or eulogising of terrorists as martyrs. There are no good terrorists or bad terrorists,” Singh said.

Shockingly, Singh`s speech during the meet was blacked out. Members of the Indian media, who had come from New Delhi to report on the conference, were not allowed to cover the speech. They were reportedly kept at a distance by Pakistani officials. Some reports said that there was an aggressive verbal exchange between officials of the two sides over the issue. Only Pakistan state PTV was allowed to cover introductory speeches of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan. Even private Pakistani media not allowed to cover the event.

Singh arrived in Islamabad yesterday amid protests by supporters of various terrorist groups, including the Hizbul Mujahideen.

-August 4, 2016,Islamabad

Protests erupt in Pakistan against Rajnath Singh’s Islamabad visit to attend SAARC meet

Protests erupt in Pakistan against Rajnath Singh’s Islamabad visit to attend SAARC meet

Protests erupt in Pakistan against Rajnath Singh's Islamabad visit to attend SAARC meet

Amid bilateral tensions over violence in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday arrived in Pakistan to attend the seventh meeting of SAARC Home/Interior Ministers’ Conference in Islamabad.

After arriving in Islamabad, Singh met Amir Ahmed, the additional secretary of Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Meanwhile, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin took to the streets of Islamabad to lodge protest against Singh’s visit. Holding Singh responsible for the killings of his area commander Burhan Wani and Kashmiri protesters, the chief of United Jihad Council slammed the Pakistan government for welcoming the Indian Home Minister.

A group of All Parties Hurriyat Conference workers also held a protest in Rawalpindi against Singh`s arrival. The protesters shouted anti-India slogans in Faizabad area of Rawalpindi, around 20 km from Islamabad where the two-day SAARC conference is being held.

Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed had also warned of a countrywide protest in Pakistan by his outfit when Rajnath Singh arrives in Islamabad.

Before commencing on his trip, Rajnath Singh took to Twitter to say that he is looking forward to underscore the imperative of meaningful cooperation within the region against terrorism and organised crime.

Issues related to most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and cross-border terrorism are likely to be the focus of Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers’ meet tomorrow.

It was not immediately clear whether Singh will meet his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan separately due to sudden strain in India-Pakistan relations after Islamabad glorified the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.

However, the Home Minister, in his speech at the SAARC meeting, is expected to raise the issue of Pakistan’s support to Ibrahim and to terror groups operating in India and ask Islamabad to check Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and other groups based in that country.

Singh is also likely to raise the issue of fake Indian currency notes being circulated at the behest of Pakistani agencies, sources said.

Apart from terrorism, other key issues to be discussed include liberalisation of visa, illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and small arms and how to make coordinated and concerted efforts to combat such menace.

Such meetings discuss regional cooperation on a number of security-related matters and take stock of progress in various regional mechanisms.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation leadership had agreed in 2005 during the 13th summit in Dhaka that Home/Interior Ministers of the SAARC nations may meet annually to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism.

The first meeting of Home/Interior Minister was held in Dhaka on May 11, 2006.

-August 3, 2016, New Delhi

Rajnath to attend SAARC meet in Islamabad as scheduled

Rajnath to attend SAARC meet in Islamabad as scheduled 

Downplaying LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s threat, the government today said Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Pakistan this week to attend the SAARC Home Ministers’ conference as scheduled.
“The SAARC meeting is a multilateral meeting. There are some commitments. He is not going to give some message or having a separate meeting with (the) Pakistani Home Minister,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told reporters here.SAARC
He was responding to questions about threats made by JuD chief Saeed over the Home Minister’s visit. Saeed warned of a countrywide protest in Pakistan by his outfit if Singh arrives in Islamabad to attend the SAARC ministerial conference.
“I want to ask the Pakistani government will it add insult to injury to the wounds of Kashmiris by welcoming Rajnath who is responsible for the killings of innocent Kashmiris,” Saeed said in a statement.
The mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack said “if Singh comes to Islamabad on August 3, the JuD would hold countrywide protest to tell the world that the Pakistani rulers might have compulsions to receive Kashmiris’ killers but the people of Pakistan are siding with oppressed Kashmiris”.
-01 August 2016 | PTI | New Delhi

MEA rules out India Pakistan bilateral talk during SAARC

MEA rules out India Pakistan bilateral talks during SAARC meet in Islamabad

MEA rules out India-Pakistan bilateral talks during SAARC meet in Islamabad

The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday ruled out any possibility of a bilateral meeting between India and Pakistan during the SAARC event. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will represent India at the upcoming meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

In a tweet message, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said: “Let me categorically state that the home minster of India is going for the SAARC event. There will be no bilateral meetings with Pakistan.”

The eight-member block is holding a meeting of the home ministers of SAARC nations in Islamabad from August 3 to 4.

According to sources, the home minister is likely to raise the issue of cross-border terrorism at the meeting.

At the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka in November 2005, the heads of state decided that the SAARC interior/home ministers would meet annually preceded by a meeting of the interior/home secretaries to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism.

The first meeting of SAARC home ministers was held in Dhaka on May 11, 2006, followed by a meeting in New Delhi in 2007.

-July 29, 2016, New Delhi