Nepal has asked Pakistan to take the initiative to hold the Saarc Summit as scheduled after four members of the grouping, including India, announced they would skip the meet in Islamabad.
In its second statement on the issue after India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan pulled out of the summit, Nepal’s foreign ministry put the ball in Pakistan’s court. Nepal is the current chair of the eight-member regional grouping.
“The indefinite postponement of the summit would not be in the interest of any country and as a chair, Nepal expected that the host nation would take necessary initiative to host the summit on time,” the statement said. It added Nepal is ready to play its role.
According to the charter of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, all decisions must be made with unanimity. The decision by four members to skip the summit has set the stage for its postponement or cancellation.
“It is clear that the summit cannot take place even if one member notifies of its inability to attend the event,” the statement said.
Nepal is reportedly under pressure to toe the Indian line but it has adopted a wait-and-watch attitude as it maintains a delicate balance.
Another member, Sri Lanka, too has concluded the environment is not conducive to holding the summit but officials said Nepal had not received any official communication from Colombo in this respect.
India announced its decision to pull out of the summit following a sharp escalation in tensions with Pakistan. The three other countries said they would not attend the summit because of concerns over terrorism and interference in their internal affairs by one country - a reference to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Rishi Raj Adhikari, foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, has said Nepal opposes all forms of terrorism.
Speaking in a function in Kathmandu on Friday, he said, “In general and in principle, we are against all kinds of international terrorism.
“It is clear that one country’s inability to participate in the (Saarc) summit means it is postponed. So it cannot be imagined...without India.”