Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will – early next month – visit Pakistan to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s (SAARC) meeting of Home/Interior Ministers. The meeting is scheduled to take place on August 3 and 4. Sources have told news agency ANI that Home Minister Singh will raise the issue of cross-border terrorism at the meeting.
The meeting in Pakistan is significant as Singh last week slammed the neighbour state for interfering in India’s internal affairs – the current unrest in Kashmir.
Holding Pakistan responsible for the violence in Kashmir, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that the neighbouring country must understand that instigating youth to pick up weapons is not correct. “I want to tell my neighbour that instigating our youth to pick up weapons is not correct,” Singh said at a press conference after a high-level meeting in Srinagar. Singh, in a direct reference to Pakistan, said India does not need third party’s involvement to address the situation in Kashmir. “We don’t need third party’s involvement to address the situation that prevails in Jammu & Kashmir,” he said, adding that Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and it must not encourage violence in Kashmir.
At the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka in November 2005, the Heads of State decided that the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers would meet annually preceded by a meeting of the Interior/Home Secretaries to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism, which they agreed was a challenge to all states and a threat to humanity, and could not be justified on any grounds.
The first meeting of SAARC Interior/Home Ministers was held in Dhaka on May 11, 2006, followed by a meeting in New Delhi in 2007.