Refusing to support India’s decision to pull out from the scheduled 19th SAARC Summit followed by Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, Nepal, the present Chair of SAARC, has strongly urged the member countries to ensure the summit was on time. Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement late Wednesday calling all member states to create a conducive environment for the summit scheduled for November 9 and 10, in Islamabad.
As the current Chair of SAARC, the government of Nepal strongly urged that a conducive environment be created for the summit soon by ensuring participation of all member states in line with the spirit of the SAARC Charter, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Nepal’s statement might not appease India, as other member nations — Sri Lanka, Maldives and Pakistan — also have not made their position clear on India’s decision to pull out from the summit.
The statement further added that the government of Nepal has received communications from the SAARC Secretariat transmitting the diplomatic notes from four SAARC member states — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and India, in which they have conveyed their inability to participate in the summit stating that current regional environment was not conducive.
“We have taken this development seriously,” the Nepalese government said in the statement.
Officials told reporters that as current Chair of the SAARC, it should be Nepal’s priority to resume the regional engagement rather than derailing it.
However, the reason as to why Nepal tried to play the balanced role instead of going against’s India’s interest in the matter was not known.
The eight members regional grouping was now equally split for and against India’s position to pull out from the summit.
The September 18 killings of 18 Indian soldiers in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir that India holds Pakistan-based millitants responsible for, has renewed tension between the two nations.
In retaliation, India on Tuesday unilaterally announced that “in the prevailing circumstances, the government of India is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.”
According to the statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs, “the growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country have created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad.”
Though one country’s inability to participate in the summit meant automatic cancellation or postponement, officials in Kathmandu said the it was now the host, Pakistan, who should take a call.