Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan join India in withdrawing from SAARC summit in Islamabad | Pakistan Today

Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan join India in withdrawing from SAARC summit in Islamabad

Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan on Wednesday pulled out of a regional summit of South Asian leaders in Pakistan, a day after India said it would boycott the event over a deadly attack on a military base.

India blames Pakistan for the assault in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir earlier this month that has heightened fears of a new conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

Tensions rose further on Tuesday as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled the trip, and Islamabad warned it would treat it as “an act of war” if India revoked a water treaty.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit cannot take place even if only one of the eight members withdraws.

Bangladesh on Wednesday said it has communicated its inability to attend the summit to current SAARC chair, Nepal. The Bangladeshi High Commissioner to India, Syed Muazzem, said current circumstances were “not conducive to producing concrete and satisfactory results.”

In separate statements, Kabul and Thimpu also announced their decision to withdraw.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry called India’s move “unfortunate” and said it remained committed to peace and regional cooperation. In a statement, it accused India of meddling in Pakistan’s internal matters.

India’s decision to cancel the trip is the latest attempt by India to try to pressure Pakistan diplomatically. India has said it will respond to the Kashmir attack but experts say it is short of military options because of the risk of escalation.

“The signal cannot be sent that we are rewarding Pakistani bad behaviour by allowing our prime minister to go to their country even for a multilateral meeting,” said an India Congress Party leader, Shashi Tharoor, standing by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s decision.

India on Monday  began a campaign to isolate Pakistan at the United Nations, and Modi told officials India should exploit more of the water from three rivers that flow into its neighbour, potentially cutting water levels downstream.

“It’s part of a larger policy of isolation of Pakistan,” said India’s former foreign secretary, Lalit Man Singh. “India has done that internationally by raising the issue of Pakistan and its links with terrorism at the U.N., at the G20, at the BRICS Summit.”

India says Pakistani militants sneaked across the de facto border that separates the countries and killed 18 soldiers on September 18, the biggest loss of life for Indian security forces in the region for 14 years.

Pakistan rejects the accusation and says India should conduct a proper investigation before it apportions blame.

Indian and Pakistani mistrust has long undermined South Asian regional cooperation and is widely blamed for the poor performance of SAARC, which successive Indian leaders hoped would help South Asia become a viable economic counterweight to China.

Divided between India and Pakistan since 1947, the nuclear flashpoint of Kashmir lies at the heart of the countries’ rivalry. India also faces an insurgency against its rule in the portion it controls, its only Muslim-majority state.

Read more: Bangladesh pulls out of Saarc summit in Islamabad amid India-Pakistan row

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  1. vk gupta said:

    Pakistan may not like this act as it is duly supported by most of the fellow members of SAARC but that Pakistan itself is responsible for bringing the situation to this extent and if it does not induce drastic changes in terms of policy towards India and other neighbors things are not going to improve and it would have to face the music of isolation despite china or any other country in the world and Paki people would be the most serious victim of its negative politics who are already suffering a lot in every term.So people of Pakistan must do something to dawn wisdom on their rulers including defense forces who are said to have a dominating role in their politics.

    • Zahid_aziz said:

      Its not Pakistan's foreign policy speaking volumes, but India's dominance over its neighbors that have compelled them to withdraw from Saarc Summit, an act which is not beneficial for any of Saarc Members. India's president admitting that during General Musharraf's era we were very close to finding a solution to Kashmir issue, indicating Pakistan's efforts for peaceful relations with India. However, world acknowledges the wonders India has done in Pakistan's Balochistan and KP Province through influx of money and weapons. All efforts of Pakistan to restore peace have gone wasted over its maddened foe.

  2. Zahid_aziz said:

    Should be read as Bhutan, Bangladesh and India's new girlfriend Afghanistan acting like school children and boycotting a good forum where issues can be settled like grown ups. Pakistan has faced dozens of attacks on its defense installations, but never blindly accused of India of orchestrating those attacks, but look at India shamelessly and without any investigation accusing Pakistan of carrying out attacks, that too within an hour of occurrence of event.

    • Rahul Rai said:

      If Pakistan has a good relationship & Sound Foreign Policy then, they can convince at least Muslim country like Bangladesh and Afghanistan( in the name of ISLAM/Allah) for not to quite SAARC Summit to be held at Islamabad.

      If Not……It means No ONE WANT TO VISIT PAKISTAN.(A terrorist Nation)

      A Shame Full Nation in the world.

  3. Dr.M.M.Khan said:

    It is nothing but ganging up on Pakistan. Having said this Pakistan is it,s own worst enemy. It does not have a Foreign minister. The PM is ailing but still holds the Portfolio of the FM. The national Security advisor is a octogenarian. Pakistan is like a rudderless boat moving from one crisis to the other. India leans on it's vassal states like Bhutan, Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh and Afghanistan for support and they oblige. International relations are complex but we should have seen the writing on the wall.
    Perhaps now the PM Shariff will now wake up and take notice. The tea party in UN is over!

    • NSS said:

      Notihng is new in it. Pakistan has itself to blame for its overambitious aprroach to outside world.
      Pragmatism is the Need of the hour.
      Please check the Facts: Whole South Asia is changing. Development and prosperity for the people is most wanted. Other SAARC memebers understand it and are united, only Pakistan has been living in a denial mode.

      • Dr.M.M.Khan said:

        Well we can agree to disagree. You have a valid point too. When one has a BIG Brother carrying a Hard Stick and a Soft Stick (India) you better listen to him. Pakistan has neither. Can you ever imagine Afghanistan, Bangladesh supporting Pakistan in any situation?

        • Surya Deva said:

          Pakistan continues to live in self-denial mode.
          Things, if escalate, can go from bad to worse.
          I hope this doesn't happen.

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