India as well as three other countries in South Asia are going to boycott the South Asian Summit that was going to take place in Pakistan. There was a recent terrorist attack on a military base in India. The result of the attack was 18 soldiers losing their life. New Delhi placed the blame on Pakistan for the attack. As a response they are no longer going to participate in the regional summit.
India Refuses to Attend the South Asian Summit
Since gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought four wars with one another. Lately, tensions between the countries have been escalating as the two regional powers seem to be stuck in a war on words.
The military base that was the target of the attack was in the region of Kashmir, a territory that is the reason of disputes between India and Pakistan. Militants took the army base by storm earlier this month and left 18 dead. The reaction from India was one of certainty. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the attackers were from Pakistan. He also called the attack “despicable” saying that those who were behind it “will not go unpunished”.
Islamabad’s response was a quick one, denying any involvement in the attack. They also warned India against taking any hostile action.
India’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement regarding the country’s boycott of the regional summit. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is going to meet in Islamabad, Pakistan in November but India is not going to be present. The prepared statement talked about “increasing cross-border terrorist attacks” as well as “growing interference” from Pakistan in the affairs of other countries. As such, India would not take part in the summit.
Pakistan reacted by saying that India’s decision was “unfortunate”. Also, it accused India of interfering with Pakistan’s domestic matters. It looks like right now the two countries are accusing each other of meddling with one another’s internal affairs.
Other Countries Withdraw from the Summit
Afghanistan has also accused Islamabad of concealing and harboring terrorists that launch attacks on their country. It has made the announcement that it will not participate at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit.
Bangladesh and Bhutan are two other countries that said they will not take part in the summit, following India’s boycott. Sri Lanka said that it was not going to participate if other countries are not attending. However, the country has not formally expressed a decision on the matter.
The only other countries left in the group are Nepal and the Maldives. At this point it is unclear if the summit will take place at all. There is the possibility for the summit to be canceled. But there is also the possibility of the summit to be relocated. If it were to take place somewhere else other than Islamabad, Pakistan the countries that have dropped out might reconsider.
Whether the summit takes place or not, tensions between India and Pakistan remain. At the United Nations, Sushma Swaraj, the Indian Foreign Minister said that Pakistan has no place among nations. The minister accused its neighbor of sheltering terrorists during her speech.
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