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Uri attack fallout: India to boycott SAARC summit in Islamabad; Pakistan calls it 'unfortunate'

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

Uri attack fallout: India to boycott SAARC summit in Islamabad; Pakistan calls it 'unfortunate'
File photo - Representational image

Delhi: 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."

"We also understand that some other SAARC member states have also conveyed their reservation about attending Islamabad summit in November 2016," the ministry said. 

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.

Indian announcement is unfortunate: Pakistan MoFA

Meanwhile, reacting to the news, Pakistan MoFA stated, "Pakistan has noted from Indian spokesperson's tweet on Indian announcement about their refusal to participate in SAARC summit being hosted by us."

"We have not received any official communication in this regard, the Indian announcement is unfortunate," it added.

Pakistan MoFA also said, "Pakistan remains committed to peace and regional cooperation. Will continue to work to that end in the larger interest of people of this region."

India confronts Pak envoy with proof, issues second demarche

On the other hand, 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, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

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".

(With Agency inputs)

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