ISLAMABAD: Pakistan hopes India will attend the Saarc Summit expected to be held here later this year, a top Pakistani diplomat has said.
“We really hope that Saarc, which is our regional organisation to move beyond the differences… India would be able to come to Pakistan for the summit because, in the end, we are neighbors,” Deputy Head of the Pakistani Mission, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said.
She was speaking on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Beijing.
“It is important for both countries to strengthen the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc),” she added.
India pulled out of last year’s Saarc Summit held in Pakistan after a string of terror attacks blamed on Pakistan-based militants, leading to a pullout by Bangladesh, Afghanistan, the Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The summit was subsequently cancelled.
Zahra also played down speculation that the inclusion of India and Pakistan in the SCO would lead to disruptions in the Beijing-led security bloc’s agenda.
“It is an important organisation for Pakistan and it is an important organisation for India. This is not an organisation to settle disputes. This is an organisation to work for the region and for common challenges and work for common development,” she said.
Pakistan, she said, hoped the inclusion of the two countries will contribute to our “region’s development and more understanding between all parties in the SCO”.