Indian-Pak Tensions Grow As Major Summit Is Postponed
Asummit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders set for Islamabad in November has been postponed indefinitely, the Pakistani Government said, amid rising tension between arch-rivals India and Pakistan.
India’s foreign ministry earlier announced that it would skip the meeting, blaming Pakistan for a deadly assault this month on an army base in the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir. Pakistan denies the accusations. India’s decision was followed by Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan expressing their “inability” to attend.
“Pakistan deplores India’s decision to impede the SAARC process by not attending the 19th SAARC Summit at Islamabad on 9-10 November 2016,” the foreign office said in a statement. A spokesman for India’s foreign ministry said on Twitter: “We note Pakistan’s decision to postpone SAARC summit. They’ve been compelled to recognise the regional sentiment against terrorism.” India said on Thursday that it had sent troops across its disputed border in Kashmir to kill men preparing to enter its territory and attack cities. Pakistan has rejected Indian claims of “surgical strikes” into its territory and maintained that India fired unprovoked from its side of the heavily militarized frontier in Kashmir, killing two soldiers. This area has been the flashpoint for two of three wars between the nucleararmed neighbours since 1947. India’s announcement of the raid on Thursday raised the possibility of military escalation that could wreck a 2003 Kashmir ceasefire.
India evacuated more than 10,000 villagers living near the border, and ordered security forces to upgrade surveillance along the frontier in Jammu and Kashmir state, part of the two countries’ 3300 kilometres boundary. Hundreds of villages were being cleared along a 15-kilometre strip in the lowland region of Jammu and further north on the Line of Control in the Himalayan mountains of Kashmir.
Pakistani protesters burn a representation of an Indian flag.