Male: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has accused India of “undermining" the spirit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) by “casting shadows" of bilateral issues on the multilateral forum for regional cooperation.
In a joint press conference with Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen in Male, Sharif on Tuesday said that the last Islamabad SAARC summit was not the first time that India caused harm to the SAARC by seeking its postponement. “It had done so on four occasions," he claimed.
After holding talks with Yameen, Sharif said Pakistan and Maldives have agreed to work together to make the SAARC a vibrant organisation and a vehicle to realise their shared dreams for a peaceful and prosperous region.
“India undermined and violated the spirit of SAARC Charter by casting shadows of bilateral issues and problems on a multilateral forum for regional cooperation," he was quoted as saying by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP). “We, however, remain grateful for President Yameen’s support regarding the SAARC summit in Islamabad," he added.
Sharif said that during his talks with the Maldivian President he also raised the Kashmir issue. India pulled out of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad last year citing increased “cross-border" attacks after heightened tension with Pakistan over Uri terror attack.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan also pulled out of the Summit indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which was not right for the successful holding of the meet, resulting in its collapse.
Sharif, who is here on a three-day official visit on an invitation of President Yameen, attended the island nation’s 52nd Independence Day celebrations as the chief guest. The two countries have agreed to further enhance their bilateral ties in various fields, overcome common challenges and work jointly to make SAARC a vibrant organisation.
Sharif also briefed Yameen on Pakistan’s efforts to fight the scourge of terrorism. “We have launched successful operations against terrorists and have won important victories," he said. The two countries signed a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for enhancing bilateral cooperation in the fields of tourism, trade, education, capacity building of civil servants and training for diplomats.