Pranab to skip SAARC meet, Ahamed to go instead
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has decided to skip the SAARC Foreign Ministerial meeting in Colombo on Friday and in his absence his deputy E Ahamed would represent India at the meet.
Mukherjee was to attend the meeting but he called off the visit due to some pressing engagements in New Delhi, sources said.
Ahamed will travel to Colombo on Thursday to attend the ministerial meeting of the eight-nation grouping, they said.
Ahamed will be attending such a meeting of SAARC for the second time. Earlier, he had represented India at SAARC Council of Ministers in Dhaka in 2006.
The ministerial meet of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan will be preceded by official level and Foreign Secretary-level talks.
At the meeting, India is expected to press for concrete and sincere cooperation by Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism under the SAARC convention .
A proposal to set up a task force at regional level to fight terrorism is also expected to figure in the meetings.
India is not too enthusiastic about such a task force, maintaining that such mechanisms will have no utility until member-countries are sincere in cooperating in concrete manner, an apparent reference to Pakistan.
The meetings will also deliberate on other issues, including connectivity and food and energy security.