SAARC summit: Pressure piles on Pakistan to save trade agenda​

With Pakistan playing spoilsport by blocking three major SAARC connectivity agreements initiated by India, efforts are on to persuade Nawaz Sharif to ensure that the connectivity pacts, including a motor vehicle agreement, are inked before the SAARC declaration on Thursday.

SAARC summit: Pressure piles on Pakistan to save trade agenda​

Kathmandu: With Pakistan playing spoilsport by blocking three major SAARC connectivity agreements initiated by India, efforts are on to persuade Nawaz Sharif to ensure that the connectivity pacts, including a motor vehicle agreement, are inked before the SAARC declaration on Thursday.

The connectivity agreements have been stalled by Pakistan on the pretext that they have not completed their "internal processes".

As the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit appeared to become a non-starter with agreement on the three projects - an electricity grid and trade in electricity, and road and rail connectivity - stalled by Pakistan, the Heads of SAARC countries are expected to take up the matter with the Pakistan Premier today at a retreat near Dhulikhel, about 30 km from Kathmandu.

The leaders will be going to Dwarika's Resort at Dhulikhel today for a Retreat Session which will be followed by a lunch hosted by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

Nepal has officially said it was working to remove "roadblocks" in signing of the SAARC agreements.

"There are some roadblocks and we are working to clear them," Nepal Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey told PTI.

While India has expressed its disappointed over the pacts not being signed, PM Modi in his address at SAARC summit has already outlined that "we will move to enhance our bonds with South Asia together if we can, if not with those who are ready for it".

Modi in his address said: "There is a new awakening in South Asia; a new recognition of inter-linked destinies; and, a new belief in shared opportunities.

"The bonds will grow. Through SAARC or outside it. Among us all or some of us."

Meanwhile, there has been no official confirmation whether PM Modi would meet his Pakistani counterpart.

While Modi, who gave a forceful maiden speech at the summit on the need for seamless connectivity, met his Bangladeshi and Bhutanese counterparts Sheikh Hasina and Tshering Tobgay, and later the presidents of Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives - Ashraf Ghani, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Abdulla Yameen - Sharif was not on the list.

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