India-Pakistan tensions threaten South Asia summit

India has sought to isolate Pakistan in the wake of the raid on its base in the disputed region of Kashmir, which killed 18 soldiers and triggered public fury.

India-Pakistan tensions threaten South Asia summit

World Bulletin / News Desk

A key South Asian summit was in doubt Wednesday after India and three other countries pulled out following a deadly attack on an army base that New Delhi blames on a Pakistan-based group.

On Tuesday it said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Islamabad in November, in a major snub to its neighbour.

Without naming Pakistan, India's foreign ministry said "increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country" had created an environment that was not conducive for a meeting.

Hours later, Bangladesh said it was also pulling out. Afghanistan and Bhutan -- both close India allies -- have since followed suit, according to an official with the Nepali government, current chair of SAARC.

"Pakistan has been interfering in our internal affairs for some time," a senior Bangladesh foreign ministry official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

"That's why we have pulled out of the SAARC summit."

Under pressure to act after the Kashmir raid, Modi warned Pakistan in a major speech on Saturday that India would push to make it a pariah state.

Pakistan denies any involvement in the September 18 attack, the worst of its kind in over a decade.

But India's army has blamed Jaish-e-Mohammad, a Pakistan-based militant group that was also implicated in an audacious assault on an Indian air force base in the northern town of Pathankot in January.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since partition in 1947, two of them over Kashmir, where the two countries regularly exchange fire across the disputed border.

At the last SAARC summit in 2014 a newly-elected Modi shook hands with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, raising hopes of warmer ties.

Just over a year later Modi made a surprise Christmas Day visit to Pakistan for a meeting with Sharif.

But those hopes were dashed by the Pathankot attack in which seven Indian soldiers died, and peace talks have been on ice ever since.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Eylül 2016, 16:02