India boycotts SAARC, 3 more follow suit as US counsels Pak

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Saarc logoEven as India decided to pull out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit to be held in November in Isalamabad due to cross border terror, the United States told Pakistan to act against safe havens within its territory.

While this was so, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan on September 28 have also boycotted the summit saying the situation was not conducive for the group to meet. Sri Lanka had expressed reservations.

The decision of these countries was conveyed by Bangladesh and Bhutan to SAARC Chair Nepal. The move, it is felt, may lead to the summit’s collapse.

At the same time, US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner on September 27 said the US would continue to pressurise Pakistan “to take action on safe terror havens inside its territory that is intent on carrying out attacks elsewhere in the region. We wish to see normalisation of ties between India and Pakistan. If so, it would benefit the region”.

The US is one of the observers of Saarc. Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar and South Korea are the remaining ones.

Things have worsened between India and Pakistan after the Uri terror attack. India has launched a diplomatic blitzkrieg in a bid to isolate Pakistan. Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in her address to the UNGA had said countries which support and fund terror should be isolated. After Swaraj’s address, Modi revisited the Indus Waters Treaty and spoke of withdrawing the Most Favoured Nation status accorded to Pakistan.