The growing cross-border tension between India and Pakistan finally led to the cancellation of the 19th South Asian Operation for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) which was scheduled to hold in Islamabad in November, 2016. In a press conference, Pakistan Foreign Ministry office has announced, “A new set of dates for holding the 19th SAARC Summit at Islamabad will be announced soon, through the Chair of SAARC (Nepal).”
Pakistan directly criticized Prime Minister Modi’s decision of skipping the Summit by saying, “Pakistan deplores India’s decision to impede the SAARC process by not attending”. Importantly, the Indian government decided against taking part in the SAARC summit in Islamabad, this decision was taken in view of the continuous cross border terrorism by Pakistan which has created environment which is not conducive to successful holding of Summit. However, India has clearly mentioned that it remains steadfast in commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in an atmosphere free of terror. India’s decision came in the wake of recent Uri terror attack in which 19 Indian soldiers were martyred. It was reported as the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades. Pakistan based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has been blamed for the cowardly attack.
Even after India’s announcement of not attending the summit, Pakistan was defiant about organizing the summit. SAARC’s other members Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan following India also have informed Nepal that they will not be attending the summit. They also have criticized and blamed Pakistan in the same note for the growing cross-border terror attacks. They have canceled the summit by saying, “the current regional environment is not conducive to the successful holding of the summit”. According to the Pakistan’s MEA Spokesperson “the summit cannot be organized even a single member is not attending the summit. So, it must be postponed”.
Following this, Nepal, the Chair of SAARC finally announced that it is impossible to hold the meeting without the presence of all the member country.