India rules out SAARC Summit over ‘no consensus’
India today ruled out the possibility of holding the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit, saying "there is still no consensus that would permit holding of the summit".
The last SAARC Summit was scheduled to be held in Islamabad, Pakistan on November 15-19, 2016 but after a terror attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to "prevailing circumstances", reports our New Delhi correspondent.
The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the Islamabad summit.
Asked about Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's remarks that his country was ready to host the 19th SAARC Summit, Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi told the weekly media briefing today that "you are aware of the background as to why the SAARC Summit has not been held since 2016."
"There has been no material change in the situation. So, there is still no consensus that would permit holding of the summit," he said.
SAARC comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and the grouping's biennial summits have not taken place since the last one in Kathmandu in 2014.