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Pak intelligence chief to skip SAARC meet in India over troubled ties

india Updated: Sep 22, 2016 07:15 IST

Eighteen army soldiers were killed in a militant attack in Uri, Kashmir, on September 18, 2016. India claims the militants came from Pakistan.(AP)

Amidst the ongoing hostility over terror attack in Uri, Pakistan has decided not to send its intelligence chief to India to attend a conference of top security experts of SAARC countries beginning on Thursday.

Aftab Sultan, Pakistan’s director general of intelligence bureau (IB), will not attend the SAARC meeting. Instead, Pakistan will be represented by an official of the high commission, a home ministry official said.

The two-day conference of the high-level group of eminent experts from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, is being hosted by India’s director of IB, Dineshwar Sharma. Intelligence chiefs of all other SAARC nations -- Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives -- are participating.

Sunday’s terror attack at a military station in Uri, where 18 soldiers were killed, and the continuing unrest in Kashmir Valley for more than two months after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani led to deterioration of bilateral relations between India and Pakistan.

The four terrorists who attacked Uri had come from Pakistan and Islamabad had openly eulogised Wani’s acts, inviting sharp reactions from India.

Read | Pakistan violates ceasefire in Uri 2 days after attack on army base

According to a statement issued by the home ministry, the second meeting of the high-level group of eminent experts from SAARC countries will be held on September 22 and 23. The aim of the meeting is to strengthen SAARC anti-terror mechanism, it said.

The first such meeting was held in New Delhi in February 2012.

The agenda of the meeting includes functioning of SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) and the SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk (SDOMD), countering terrorism and strengthening anti-terrorism mechanisms in SAARC, intelligence sharing and police cooperation, human resource development and relationship building, combating corruption and cyber crimes, among others.