New Delhi, Jan 07: Turning down Pakistan's invitation, India rejected Pakistan’s proposal to host the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), saying there was no material change in the situation that permitted the convening of the eight-nation meet.
"We have seen media reports regarding the Pakistan foreign minister’s remarks about the Saarc Summit. You are aware of the background as to why the Saarc Summit has not been held since 2014, " Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.
"There has been no material change in the situation since then. Therefore, there is still no consensus that would permit the holding of the summit," he added, without giving details.
He was reacting to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi’s statement that his country looked forward to hosting the summit. If India was not prepared to attend the summit in Islamabad, it could participate in the virtual mode, Pakistan's Minister had stated.
The last summit of the eight-nation grouping was held in Nepal in November 2014. India and other countries had pulled out of the 19th summit that was to be held in Islamabad in November 2016 following the Uri terror attack that was blamed on Pakistan-based terrorists.
According to the SAARC Charter, its summit can only be held if all the eight nations agree to participate. The SAARC brings together India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and the Maldives.
On Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent statement for intervention by the UN on Jammu and Kashmir, the spokesperson said the Union Territory was an integral part of India. He said he would not like to say much about the Pakistani leader who has encouraged cross-border terrorism and praised Osama bin Laden.