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India rejects Pakistan’s new offer to host SAARC summit this year

India dismissed Pakistan’s renewed offer to host the long-awaited South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit on Thursday, saying there is no consensus that will allow the meeting to take place.

The eight-nation grouping’s most recent summit was held in Nepal in November 2014. Following the Uri terror attack, which was blamed on Pakistan-based terrorists, India and other countries withdrew from the 19th Summit, which was scheduled to take place in Islamabad in November 2016.

Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, reaffirmed his country’s offer to host the summit in 2022 on Monday, saying India could participate virtually if it didn’t want to attend in person.

“We’ve seen reports in the media about Pakistan’s foreign minister’s comments about the Saarc Summit. “You are aware of the background as to why the Saarc Summit has not been held since 2014,” said Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for the external affairs ministry, at a regular press briefing.

“Since then, there has been no significant change in the situation. As a result, there is still no consensus that would allow the summit to take place,” he added, without going into detail.

“Let me make two points,” Bagchi said in response to a question about Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comments calling on the international community to intervene in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. First and foremost, Jammu and Kashmir is an inalienable and indispensable part of India.”

“Two, the remarks you refer to were made by the prime minister of a country that openly supports cross-border terrorism, gave refuge to [al-Qaeda chief] Osama bin Laden, and has a shocking human rights record that the rest of the world is aware of.”

Following a series of terror attacks on Indian military facilities and troops in recent years, all of which were blamed on Pakistan-based terror groups, primarily the Jaish-e-Mohammed, India-Pakistan relations have reached an all-time low (JeM). In February of last year, the two countries agreed to strictly adhere to the 2003 ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, following back channel talks between intelligence officials from both sides.

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