Member states apathetic to fix new date for SAARC Summit

Kathmandu, December 14

SAARC member states have failed to fix a new date for holding its next summit, which was postponed amidst an escalating border crisis between India and Pakistan in October.

Host Pakistan had postponed the proposed 19th SAARC summit on October 4, after five of its eight members announced their inability to attend the regional jamboree. Then, Nepal, as the incumbent Chair, had urged Islamabad to create a congenial environment for organising the meeting at the earliest possible date.

Earlier, the 19th Summit of the heads of state/government of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka was scheduled in Islamabad for November 9 and 10.

Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat, who is ex-office Chair of SAARC Council of Ministers, told The Himalayan Times that there were no correspondences from any side regarding the next Summit. According to him, even the Pakistani side is looking for a convenient environment to fix the date for the meeting. While, the rest of the member states are also of the view that the Summit can’t take place in Islamabad until Indo-Pak ties improve, he added.

A senior diplomat at the Embassy of India in Kathmandu said, “No initiative for SAARC that I am aware of. Some want to shift the venue but it is a decision for Pakistan to take.”