SAARC Summit Likely To Be Cancelled Or Postponed: Reports

India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan have pulled out of the summit

28/09/2016 7:02 PM IST | Updated 28/09/2016 7:15 PM IST
Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

The upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November, from which India as well as a host of South Asians including Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan, have recently pulled out, is likely to be cancelled or postponed, according to media reports.

The Hindu reported citing a "senior diplomatic source" in Nepal, the current chair of the summit, that there "is no question of holding the summit if four countries declare their unwillingness to participate."

The report however noted the possibility of a "diplomatic breakthrough" with a change in venue but that is all still uncertain at this stage. According to a media reports, a final decision will lie with Saarc's Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has indicated its intention of going ahead with the Summit even with the four South Asian nations cancelling their participation. According to Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, Pakistan will indeed host the 19th SAARC summit in November, Radio Pakistan reported on Wednesday. The country's foreign office called India's decision "unfortunate."

On Tuesday, India announced in an official statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not attend the Summit citing "cross-border" terrorist attacks and increasing interference from the host country in some of the member states. Following India's decision, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also announced they won't be participating citing similar concerns.

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