India’s effort to gather support from its immediate neighbourhood is expected to go through a rough phase. India wants complete or temporary isolation of Pakistan from SAARC group through mutual consent of the SAARC countries.
Indian Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale notified on the evolving situation after Thursday’s terror attack to ambassadors of the South Asian neighbours, excluding Pakistan.
However, a government official, requesting anonymity, said since decisions at the Saarc are taken by consent, it’s not possible that India will be able to convince all the members to take action against Pakistan. “India is looking at a statement from Saarc countries to denounce terrorism from countries in the region. It would be difficult to find support to suspend Pakistan from the grouping”, said the official.
Former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal said it will be difficult for India to get the support of countries like Nepal is supporting Pakistan’s bid to include China in Saarc. “The latest deterioration in Indo-Pak relationship would ensure that a new government after the general election will not be in a hurry to make a fresh beginning with Pakistan,” the secretary said.
After the then president General Pervez Musharraf did not work towards the restoration of democracy in the country, Pakistan was temporarily suspended in 2007 from the membership of the Commonwealth grouping.
Biswajit Dhar, the professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said: “India should seek the support of other member countries to temporarily suspend Pakistan from SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) to begin with, and then at the larger Saarc context”.
After September 2016, deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, India decided not to participate in the 19th Saarc summit. The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to take part. “PM Modi would be invited to Pakistan for the Saarc summit, dates for which were yet to be finalized”, said Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal, last year.
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