India destroys SAARC

DESPITE Pakistan’s offer of dialogue to India on Kashmir dispute, tension in relations between the two countries appears not to be subsiding in the near future. First the tirade and fiery speeches of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Pakistan and now its decision not to send Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to Islamabad for the SAARC meeting explicitly depict that the relations stand at the lowest ebb.
By not sending its Finance Minister to attend the Ministerial level meeting, India has also put the fate of forthcoming SAARC Summit in doubt, which is scheduled to be held in November in Islamabad. Modi’s rhetoric also suggests that he might not travel to Pakistan for the SAARC moot – the postponement of which will not augur well for the region as main purpose of this platform is aimed at enhancing economic and social collaboration amongst the regional countries and to collectively find out ways and means to address the common challenges including that of poverty and backwardness. Besides, the agenda of the Finance Ministers’ meeting was not political in any manner, as it had to discuss matters pertaining to promoting trade and investment amongst the regional countries and lay the groundwork for the subsequent endorsement by the heads of states and government at the main Summit. But adhering to its intransigence, New Delhi once again ruined the process. Earlier, at the SAARC Interior Ministers’ conference too, Indian Home Minister Rajnath left the meeting in the midway after accusing Pakistan of terrorism. In fact, when Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan showed the Indians their real face, it became difficult for Rajnath to digest and he had to leave the moot setting aside all the decorum and courtesy. We, therefore, will ask the Indian side to end its animosity towards Pakistan and engage in serious and meaningful dialogue for resolution of all outstanding disputes including the core issue of Kashmir. To send a positive signal in this regard, the Indian PM should ensure participation in the SAARC moot; otherwise its postponement responsibility will solely rest with New Delhi, as Pakistan is all ready to host the conference.

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