Pakistan blocks connectivity agreements at SAARC

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Kathmandu, Nov 25: The proposed agreements for better regional connectivity, including a motor vehicle pact, to be signed during the SAARC Summit are unlikely to be inked with Pakistan opposing them, saying it was yet to complete its "internal processes".

At the Ministerial meeting, some countries also made a policy statement on strengthening of roles of SAARC observers amid China's push to elevate its role in SAARC from an observer to that of an active member.

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However, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said there was no discussion or debate on the issue and stressed on the "deepening of understanding among the SAARC countries then going horizontally."

On SAARC's connectivity pacts, Akbaruddin said these agreements were discussed at various senior levels and there was no objection from any country but one state has indicated that they need approvals of their "internal processes".

However, he did divulge the name of the county. Sources said that the country in question was Pakistan.

Noting that SAARC works on the consensus which was smart and efficient way of working, Akbaruddin said India hopes of some "tangible" outcomes as SAARC has often been accused of not moving fast.

"We are ready to join the consensus," he added.

Ahead of the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend 18th SAARC summit, the cabinet had cleared the signing and ratifying of the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement and SAARC Regional Railways Agreement by India, as a member state of SAARC.

Asked about Pakistan along with some other countries pushing for China's active membership, he said there was "no great support" for new membership.

PTI

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