No Modi at SAARC: Regional Coop and terror don't go together,says India

New Delhi: Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi will not attend the SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November. While announcing the decision, government said that regional cooperation and terror don't go together. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that India has conveyed to current SAARC Chair Nepal its decision not to attend the summit, for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was slated to go.

The decision to pull out came few hours after the Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned to South Block and handed over Pakistan's "proof of cross-border origin" of theSeptember 18 Uri terror attack.

In a statement, India said increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of Saarc member-states "by one country" have created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc summit.

"India remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in an atmosphere free of terror.In the prevailing circumstances, the government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad," MEA spokesperson said in the statement.

Swarup said that some other Saarc member-states have also conveyed their reservation about attending the Islamabad Summit in November 2016.

The other countries unwilling to attend are said to be Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan, according to sources.

The decision to pull out, marking a sharp escalation in India's attack on Pakistan for sponsoring terror, also comes a day after New Delhi decided to revisit the 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty, and apportion more water to itself from river waters that have been used by Pakistan for decades.

Prime Minister Modi, chairing the meeting on the river waters treaty, is quoted as having said that "blood and water can't flow together".

India is also planning to revoke the Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan in trade, in another punishing measure.

India has been hyping its diplomatic offensive against Pakistan over the past few days, over the latter's open backing of the Kashmir unrest and specially after the terror attack on an army camp in Uri on September 18 that left 18 soldiers dead.

Prime Minister Modi had announced last week during the BJP conclave in Kerala that the sacrifices of the Indian soldiers killed in Uri would not go waste and India will diplomatically isolate Pakistan. (IANS)