India won’t attend SAARC meet, Pak needs to stop terror first: Sushma Swaraj
Sushma Swaraj, who declined Islamabad’s invite to witness the ground-breaking ceremony for the corridor and deputed two ministers to represent India at the event, said the corridor had been a long awaited.Updated: Nov 28, 2018 17:54 IST
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday India will not attend the SAARC summit in Pakistan and unless the neighbouring country stops sponsoring terror activities even as she welcomed Islamabad’s decision to build the Kartarpur corridor.
“We are not responding to it (the invitation by Pakistan for the summit) positively because as I said unless and until Pakistan stops terror activities in India, there will be no dialogue, so we will not participate in SAARC,” she said while speaking to reporters in Hyderabad.
Swaraj, who declined Islamabad’s invite to witness the ground-breaking ceremony for the corridor and deputed two ministers to represent India at the event, said the corridor had been a long awaited.
“For many years the Indian government has been asking for this (Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan responded positively. It doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this, terror and talks can’t go together,” she said in Telangana where she is campaigning ahead of the Telangana assembly elections on December 7.
“The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, dialogue can start. But the dialogue is not connected with only the Kartarpur corridor,” Swaraj said.
Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan is scheduled to lay the foundation stone at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district in Punjab.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu is already in Pakistan to attend the event. Union ministers Hardeep Puri and Harsimrat Badal have also reached Pakistan.
Swaraj’s statement comes a day after Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be invited to that country for the SAARC summit.
India had pulled out of the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit that was to be held in Islamabad in 2016 after the deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in September that year.
It was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to attend.
The Maldives and Sri Lanka are the other two members of the regional grouping. No summit meeting of SAARC has happened ever since.
First Published: Nov 28, 2018 12:37 IST