New Delhi :
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday announced that India will not attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit which is scheduled to be held in Pakistan. Swaraj said that dialogue at any level with Pakistan will not be possible until and unless it stops terror activities in India. The announcement came hours after the minister's remarks that Pakistan's decision to open Kartarpur corridor doesn't mean the resumption of bilateral dialogue between the hostile neighbours.
"We are not responding to it (Pakistan's invitation for SAARC summit) positively because as I said unless and until Pakistan stops terror activities in India, there will be no dialogue, so we will not participate in SAARC summit," ANI quoted the minister as saying.
India's denial to Pakistan's invitation to attend SAARC summit came on a day when Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to lay the foundation stone ceremony of Kuratarpur corridor that will Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.
“For many years the Indian Government has been asking for this (Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan has responded positively. But it doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this,” Swaraj said, asserting that “terror and talks can’t go together.”
The 4-km long Kartarpur corridor is aimed at facilitating the visit of Sikh pilgrims to the historic shrine of Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib - the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak. Although Sushma Swaraj refused to accept the Pakistan government’s invitation, two Union ministers – Hardeep Puri and Harsimrat Kaur – along with Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu will attend the historic event in Pakistan.
While Sidhu had already reached Pakistan, the two Union ministers left for the country via Attari-Wagah border to attend the Kartarpur corridor foundation stone laying ceremony later today. Before leaving for Pakistan, Puri expressed gratitude towards the Imran Khan government and said that he was “extremely grateful and privileged” to be able to make this pilgrimage.