SAARC virtual meet scheduled for September 24 to be attended by India and Pakistan foreign ministers
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting to be held via video conferencing on September 24 will be attended by India External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. The diplomats are to meet at the SAARC conference after recent tensions that spilled between New Delhi and Islamabad during a meeting of recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Sources reveal that all the member nations would be participating in the 20th SAARC summit which include Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan. “All member countries have confirmed participation in the meeting, to be chaired by Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal,” sources confirmed. Foreign ministers of all the member nations are to participate the virtual summit.
During the SCO meeting Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had stormed out of the meeting after he saw that a map displaying Indian territory as Pakistan’s was used by Pakistan Special Advisor on National Security Moeed Yusuf. Despite the incident Mr. Jaishankar will attend the meeting. The Ministry of External Affairs had said after the incident, “This was in blatant disregard to the advisory by the host (Russia) against it and in violation of the norms of the meeting. After consultation with the host, the Indian side left the meeting in protest at that juncture.”
For the SAARC meeting no guidelines on maps or backgrounds have been issued by the Kathmandu SAARC Secretariat which is also this year’s chair. This year’s summit was supposed to be held in Islamabad but India had refused to attend the SAARC summit if scheduled in Pakistan. India remains the chief promotional nation of SAARC with providing operational costs for SAARC Secretariat which amounts to 30% of the $3 million operational costs.