India won’t attend Saarc meet: Sushma

India won’t attend Saarc meet: Sushma
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Highlights

There will be no dialogue with Pakistan unless it desists from terrorist activities against India, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday, in a rebuff to Pakistan a day after Islamabad said it would invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Saarc summit

Hyderabad/New Delhi: There will be no dialogue with Pakistan unless it desists from terrorist activities against India, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday, in a rebuff to Pakistan a day after Islamabad said it would invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Saarc summit.

The External Affairs Minister also said the Kartarpur corridor initiative was not linked to the dialogue process with Pakistan. "Unless and until Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India there will be no dialogue and we will not participate in Saarc," Swaraj said while speaking to reporters in Hyderabad.

Swaraj's statement came hours before Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was to lay the foundation stone for the much-awaited corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district.

Swaraj, who declined Islamabad’s invite to witness the ground-breaking ceremony for the corridor and deputed two ministers to represent India at the event, said the corridor had been a long awaited. “For many years the Indian government has been asking for this (Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan responded positively. It doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this, terror and talks can’t go together,” she said in Telangana where she is campaigning ahead of the Telangana assembly elections on December 7.

“The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, dialogue can start. But the dialogue is not connected with only the Kartarpur corridor,” Swaraj said. India had pulled out of the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit that was to be held in Islamabad in 2016 after the deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in September that year. It was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to attend. The Maldives and Sri Lanka are the other two members of the regional grouping.

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