Pakistan on Tuesday has said that it will send an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the upcoming summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries in Pakistan.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be invited to Pakistan for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said on Tuesday, as per a report by The Dawn.
Apparently, India had boycotted the 19th SAARC summit two years ago, which was to be held in Pakistan in 2016, citing regional security environment and terrorism by Pakistan. This decision came in the wake of the Uri attack in September 2016. Following India's withdrawal, several other nations including Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan had also pulled out from the summit two years ago. This led to the cancellation of the summit in 2016 since it cannot take place even if one of the eight members withdraws.
SAARC has been in a limbo for last two years. All other member states of SAARC supported India against Pakistan in boycotting the summit.
Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid during his visit to India on November 26, told Republic TV in an exclusive interview that SAARC cannot happen till contentious issues are discussed.
"SAARC is a process and we are going through that process. We started SAARC way back in the 1980s. We agreed to not discuss contentious issues. First get ourselves unified on things we can agree. I think we have gone past that. It is time we started addressing the contentious issues. Unless the aspects of security in the region are addressed, I am seeing that any future progress of SAARC may not be viable. But I am sure that the leadership of South Asia is capable of coming out of these challenges. We need to start addressing the core issues of the region," Maldives FM had said.
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 dates of the current SAARC summit is yet to announced. SAARC currently, has Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as its members.