India-Pakistan foreign ministers avoid each other at SAARC meet

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 28, 2018 10:28 hrs
Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: In the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations meet held on Thursday, Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj left for her next engagement soon after delivering her speech, without listening to the her Pakistani counterpart speak.

At the informal luncheon, the two leaders did not exchange of pleasantries or greetings. As per reports, Afghanistan foreign minister was the first person to leave the meeting after his speech.

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In her speech Swaraj emphasised to SAARC countries that an environment of peace and security in South Asia is essential for cooperation and economic development, but Pakistan accused India of obstructing the region's progress and prosperity.She said the number of incidents endangering South Asia is on the rise and terrorism remains the single-largest threat to peace and stability in the geopolitical region, and the world.

"It is necessary that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support," she said according to sources.

Swaraj left the SAARC meeting early.

After her statement, Pakistan’s Qureshi while talking to reporters said without naming India "We have to decide the next step. I have no hesitation in saying that in the way of SAARC's progress and in the way of the region's connectivity and prosperity, there is only one obstruction and one attitude. The attitude of one nation is making the spirit of SAARC and the spirit of the founding fathers of SAARC unfulfilled,” PTI reported.

Asked if he had talks with Swaraj at the meeting, Qureshi denied. "She left the meeting mid-way, maybe she was not feeling well," he said.

Calling Swaraj’s statement as “vague” Qureshi said that Swaraj talked about regional cooperation, but "my question is how will regional cooperation be possible when the regional nations are ready to sit together and you are the obstruction in that dialogue and discussion."

Pakistan and India are sharing a strained relation since India cancelled a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two nations proposed to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session.

India cited attacks by Islamabad-backed groups in Jammu and Kashmir and stamps released by Pakistan glorifying Kashmiri terrorists as reasons for cancellation of the proposed talks.

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