India has rejected the 'invite' extended by Pakistan for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit which is due to be held in Islamabad. Sources say that India is unlikely to change its stance on the issue and has said that it will not attend the summit in Pakistan.
Confirming the development, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reiterated that terror and talks cannot go hand in hand. "For many years the Indian Government has been asking for this (Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan responded positively. It doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this, terror and talks can’t go together," the Minister said.
In 2016, the SAARC summit was the summit was called off in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on an Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on 18 September. After the attack, India had said it could not take part in the summit due to "prevailing circumstances". Nineteen Indian soldiers died in the attack.
Even Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan had also declined to participate in the Islamabad meet.
However, amid Indian ministers travelling to attend the Kartarpur corridor ground-breaking ceremony in Pakistan, their Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal had on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be invited to the country for the SAARC summit.
Faisal recalled that PM Imran Khan in his first address had said that if India took one step forward, Pakistan would take two.
SAARC Summits are usually held biennially hosted by a member state in alphabetical order. The member state hosting the summit assumes the Chair of the Association. The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu, which was attended by PM Modi.