In a huge snub to Pakistan, External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, walked out of the SAARC meeting, which was also attended by her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, mid-way, after issuing a strong call to end the ecosystem of terrorism.
Sushma attended the informal meeting of the SAARC Council of ministers held at the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly, chaired by the Foreign Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Thursday.
The MEA reportedly made a strong statement, indirectly hinting at her Pakistani counterpart, on terrorism threatening peace and stability in South Asia, she said, “The number of threats and incidents that endanger South Asia are on the rise. Terrorism remains the single-largest threat to peace and stability in our region, and indeed in the world. It is necessary that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support. I would like to stress that meetings, including high-level ones, can only be effective if expressions of resolve are translated into concrete action on the ground.” She left the meeting early.
This, however, attracted criticism from Qureshi who later told reporters, “no I didn’t have any talk with her (Swaraj). On the positive gesture, I can say she left the meeting mid-way, maybe she was not feeling well”.
Though being blamed by Qureshi for leaving the meeting mid-way, the Indian diplomatic sources revealed that it was nothing unusual that Sushma Swaraj did by leaving the mid-way as it was quite normal in a multilateral meeting to leave early after one has delivered its country’s statement.
The sources furthered that Swaraj was not the first minister to leave the meeting as her counterparts from Afghanistan and Bangladesh had also left before her.
Last week, India had agreed on holding peace talks after the recently-elected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had written a letter to PM Modi requesting for the same.
However, New Delhi cancelled the proposed meeting a day later.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had confirmed to media that at the wake of 2 major incidents, the abduction and killing of policemen at Shopian and the release of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan that glorifying terrorists in Kashmir, India has decided not to go forward with the scheduled meeting between the two foreign ministers.
He further added that the evil agenda of Pakistan has been exposed and behind the claims of peace, the true face of the newly elected prime minister has been revealed.
It is notable here that India had suspended all diplomatic dialogues with Pakistan after the Uri attacks in 2016. On September 14, Pakistan’s new PM Imran Khan had proposed the MEA level meeting at New York which India had initially accepted but cancelled later.