Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi boycotted Indian External Affairs’ Minister’s speech at the SAARC Ministers’ meet in New York
At the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) meet in New York, the Indian External Affairs Minister spoke against terrorism. But the Pakistan Foreign Minister skipped this speech in a clear act of boycott.
With this, the future of the 19th SAARC summit hangs in ambiguity
Especially given the fact that 2016 and 2018 summits never saw the light of the day.
After the walkout, the official Twitter account of Pakistan’s ruling party, Tehreek-e-Insaf said, “Pakistan will not engage with the butcher of Kashmir.”
Ever since the Indian Parliament moved to modify Article 370 that led to major constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has been irritated. In fact, in response to it, Pakistan has demoted diplomatic relations with India and also broken up trade ties.
Not the right place
The SAARC meeting was headed by Nepal which is the present head of the association. Other foreign ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka too participated apart from India and Pakistan.
After the meet, spokesperson for Pakistan’s foreign ministry claimed that the SAARC summit will “finally move forward” in Islamabad.
But that might actually not be an inaccurate description of what went down at SAARC meet in New York. According to sources,
Pakistan FM did propose to discuss over suggested dates for the summit. But the Nepal chair said that such dates are not a matter to be discussed at informal meetings
And thus, this was not the right place or time to discuss the same. Instead, diplomatic channels must be used to finalise such dates.
The missing history of SAARC Summits
SAARC summits are held every 2 years. But since 2016, there haven’t been any. The next host in line for the summit is Pakistan. In 2016, India boycotted the meeting after the infamous terror attack in Uri. In fact, Afghanistan and Bangladesh too decided to boycott. 2018 was no different. Given the history, the 19th SAARC Summit might too see the same fate. And if India decides to boycott yet again, others might follow.
Terrorism is flowing uncontrollably in the global veins and it needs to be curbed by hook or by crook. Keeping this view, many world leaders are not shying away from speaking against it. After New York’s SAARC FM meet, S Jaishankar too followed in their footsteps.
With a powerful play of words, the Indian External Affairs Minister condemned terrorism
He said that the “elimination of terrorism in all its forms is a precondition not only for fruitful cooperation but also for the very survival of our region itself.”