India says no consensus to permit holding of SAARC Summit

BL New Delhi Bureau | | Updated on: Jan 06, 2022
image caption

China constructing bridge on Pangong lake in areas illegally occupied by it, says MEA

India has indicated its unwillingness to attend the SAARC Summit that Pakistan has offered to host as it believes that ``there is no consensus’’ that would permit the holding of the Summit.

“We have seen media reports regarding the Pakistani Foreign Minister’s remarks about SAARC Summit. You are aware of the background as to why the SAARC Summit has not been held since 2014. There has been no material change in the situation. Therefore, there is still no consensus that would permit the holding of the Summit,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a press briefing on Thursday.

Bagchi was answering queries on reports that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had offered to host the SAARC summit and had said that India could attend the meet virtually if in-person participation was not possible.

The 19th SAARC Summit, which was scheduled in Islamabad in November 2016, had to be called off as New Delhi refused to attend it following Uri terror attacks.

According to media reports, Qureshi blamed India for making SAARC, which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, dysfunctionalbecause of its ``stubborness’’.

There is also lack of clarity over what the status of Afghanistan would be in the group after it was taken over by militant group Taliban last year.

On reports about a bridge being made by the Chinese side on Pangong lake in Ladakh, Bagchi said that the government has been monitoring this activity closely. “This bridge is being constructed in areas that have been under illegal occupation by China for around 60 years now. As you are well aware India has never accepted such illegal occupation,” he said.

Published on January 06, 2022

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