India would not participate in SAARC meeting

DAINIK NATION BUREAU

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has categorically said that no dialogue with Pakistan unless and until it desists from terrorist activities against India. She said a day after Islamabad said it would invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the SAARC summit.

She also said the Kartarpur corridor initiative was not linked to the dialogue process with Pakistan.

“Unless and until Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India there will be no dialogue and we will not participate in SAARC,” Swaraj told a press conference here.

Swaraj’s statement came hours before Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was to lay the foundation stone for the much-awaited corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.

India has been asking for a corridor, which will facilitate visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, for long. She was happy that Pakistan had for the first time responded positively.

“But that does not mean that bilateral talks will start only on this,” she said, adding terror and talks cannot go together.

Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Mohammad Faisal had said on Tuesday that prime minister Modi will be invited to that country for the SAARC summit.

India had pulled out of the 19th SAARC summit that was to be held in Islamabad after the deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in September that year.

The summit had to be called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to attend. Maldives and Sri Lanka are the other two members of the regional grouping.

No summit meeting of SAARC has happened ever since.

Swaraj, who is campaigning here ahead of the Telangana elections on December 7, said, “The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, dialogue can start but the dialogue is not connected with only the Kartarpur corridor.”

With PTI inputs

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