Saarc summit scrapped: It's terrorist state Pakistan vs the rest of South Asia!
India: We remain steadfast in our commitment to Saarc, but believe summits can be held only in an atmosphere free of terror.
Bangladesh: Growing interference in our internal affairs by one country has created an environment not conducive to holding summit
Afghanistan cites "increased level of violence and fighting as a result of imposed terrorism on Afghanistan" for cancelling its participation.
Bhutan cites "the recent escalation of terrorism in the region" as the reason for its non-participation.
It's terrorist state Pakistan vs the rest of South Asia! India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan -- four of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)'s eight members -- have scrapped the Islamabad summit of the 30-year-old South Asian grouping, with anger over Pakistan's continued use of terrorism as a tool of foreign policy boiling over after the terrorist attack in Uri in Jammu & Kashmir last week in which 18 Indian soldiers died.
Sources in Nepal, the current Saarc chair, confirmed having received messages from the four countries conveying their inability to attend the summit due in Islamabad on November 9-10.A final decision on officially cancelling the summit will be made by Saturday when its current general secretary Arjun Bahadur Thapa returns from his US visit.
Saarc operates by consensus and therefore requires all members to attend the summit meeting for its decisions to be adopted. While for India, the decision of the other neighbours -- news is now coming in that Nepal, too, has decided not to attend the meeting; Sri Lanka has already said a Saarc summit without India is meaningless -- is vindication of its strategy to isolate Pakistan over terrorism, the other South Asian countries, victims of Pakistan-sponsored extremist ideology and terrorism, are virtually reading out the riot act to Islamabad, or rather to Rawalpindi, where Pakistan's army is headquartered.
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.
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 holding the regional summit.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India had conveyed to Nepal its decision not to attend the summit.
"India remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in an atmosphere free of terror. In the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad," he said.
Pakistan has termed the boycott decision as "unfortunate"
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. 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.
OneIndia News (with IANS inputs)