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Indian Diplomat Exits SAARC Meet Over Presence Of PoK Minister

Written By Digital Desk | Mumbai | Published:

An official of the Indian High Commission in Pakistan staged a walkout of a SAARC meeting over the presence of a 'minister' from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) at the event, news agency PTI said, quoting a source.

Diplomat Shubham Singh, left the meeting to register India's protest over the presence of PoK 'minister' Chaudhary Muhammad Saeed at the SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry meeting on the SAARC Charter Day in Islamabad on Sunday.

India considers Kashmir as its integral part and does not recognise any minister for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Read: India Slammed Pakistan For Destabalising Afghanistan And Harbouring Terror Organisations

In 2016, India had pulled out of the 19th SAARC summit that was to be held in Islamabad. The announcement came amid growing tensions between the two country following the attack on an Indian army base in Uri. 

"India has conveyed to the current Saarc Chair in Nepal that increasing cross-border terrorists attacks in the region and increasing interference in the internal matters of member states by one country has created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the Saarc summit," said the statement released from the Indian foreign ministry.

The statement added that India, under the prevailing circumstances, is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.

Read: 'Won't Attend SAARC Summit In Pakistan, No Bilateral Till Terror Ends', Says Sushma Swaraj; Puts Onus On Congress For Sidhu

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had spoken categorically on the issue of bilateral talks between India and Pakistan, in the context of the two countries approving the development of the Kartarpur corridor.

Calling the Kartarpur development a positive step, Sushma Swaraj nonetheless clarified that India would remain firm on its decision to not hold bilateral talks with Pakistan till such time that the neighbouring country doesn't stop its terrorism activities.

"The minute Pakistan stops terrorism, that moment bilateral talks can happen", she said.

She was also asked about the controversy surrounding Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu visiting Pakistan once again, to which she raised the point that while the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh had declined Pakistan's invite citing terrorism, Sidhu had insisted on going at a personal level.

(With inputs from PTI)