SAARC with Pakistan is a difficult proposition: BJP leader

Published On: August 3, 2019 07:05 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Aug 3: As Nepal in its capacity as the current chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) wishes to see its summit meeting being held at the earliest, a senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India has ruled out the possibility of holding the summit of the regional body.  

Addressing an interaction titled ‘Nepal Bharat Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges in the Present Context’ organized by Nepal-Bharat Friendship Society in the capital on Friday, ruling BJP’s Foreign Affairs Department In-Charge Vijaya Chauthaiwale said it is quite difficult to sit down across the table with Pakistan and hold any meaningful discussion unless Islamabad commits in action to stop terrorism across its border. 

“It is quite difficult for India to sit across table and discuss meaningfully until the situation remains as it is,” said Chauthaiwale, adding that India continues to remain firm on its position that Pakistan must take concrete measures to curb terrorism. “SAARC with Pakistan is a difficult proposition for India now.” 

Stating that Pakistan has failed to take any concrete measure to address India’s concerns so far, Chauthaiwale indicated that SAAC future was doomed unless Pakistan addresses their concerns on the issue of terrorism. “All issues with Pakistan will be dealt at bilateral level,” he said, adding that India won’t accept mediation by any third party as US President Donald J Trump has been saying. 
India has been maintaining no dialogue can take place between India and Pakistan until Islamabad demonstrates visible action toward curbing terrorist activities emanating from its soil. The SAARC summit that Pakistan is supposed to host has fallen uncertain after India snubbed the invitation of Pakistan to attend the Summit on the same ground.

Highlighting the transformative development agenda initiated by the Modi-led government, Chauthaiwale also  spoke about how Nepal can reap benefits from its proximity to a rapidly developing Indian economy. Allaying concerns from a section of people in Nepal that BJP-led India has plans to enforce the Hindu agenda to destabilise the country, Chauthaiwale said India does not have any plan to make Nepal unstable and it does not want to interfere in the internal affairs of Nepal.

“A group of people in Nepal say that India is pursuing its grand design to make it unstable. However, the reality is different. India does not have any plan to make Nepal unstable,” he said.
Former Finance Minister and Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat said economic development should constitute the main agenda of the relation between India and Nepal. He urged the Indian government to help Nepal achieve its economic objectives.

Taking part in the discussions, participants highlighted the need to promote relation between Nepal and India by linking it to religious tourism and development and prosperity. They also stressed the need for resolving all outstanding issues including border dispute, flood and inundation and other contentious issues that exist between the two countries.

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