External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj emphasised that an environment of peace and security in South Asia is essential for cooperation and economic development, but Pakistan accused India of obstructing the region’s progress and prosperity. Swaraj’s statement on Thursday came at a meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York.
“An environment of peace and security is essential for regional cooperation to progress and achieve economic development and prosperity of our people,” Swaraj said at the SAARC Ministers Meeting.
She said the number of incidents endangering South Asia are on the rise and terrorism remains the single-largest threat to peace and stability in the geopolitical region, and the world.
“It is necessary that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support,” she said according to sources.
The Indian Foreign Minister left the SAARC meeting early.
Following Swaraj’s statement, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters that Pakistan wants to see SAARC become result-oriented and in a veiled attack on India, he said, “We have to decide the next step. I have no hesitation in saying that in the way of SAARC’s progress and in the way of the region’s connectivity and prosperity, there is only one obstruction and one attitude. The attitude of one nation is making the spirit of SAARC and the spirit of the founding fathers of SAARC unfulfilled.”