Diplomatic relations serve useful purpose, says ministry

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Avoiding a direct reply on whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad in November, India on Thursday said that “diplomatic relations do serve useful purpose”.

“Yesterday (Wednesday), we called the Pakistani High Commissioner and confronted him with evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in Uri and the previous attacks,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said when asked whether it is worthwhile to maintain diplomatic relations with Pakistan in the wake of the Uri attack.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Wednesday summoned Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit here following Sunday’s cross-border terror attack on an army base at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, in which 18 Indian soldiers lost their lives.

“We told him that if you like to conduct investigations, we are ready to assist in that. Now, such demarche is possible only if you have diplomatic relations. So, having diplomatic relations serves useful purpose,” Swarup added.

Responding to a direct query on Modi’s visit to Islamabad for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit, Swarup quipped: “I think I have already answered that question.”

On isolating Pakistan in the region by urging Bangladesh and Afghanistan to ‘rethink’ participation in the summit, Swarup said he could not comment on the issue but added that “all victims of terrorism do stand in solidarity”.

Swarup said Saarc stands for regional cooperation underpinned by peace and stability, and the biggest threat to peace and stability is terrorism.

“Squarely addressing this challenge (terrorism) will benefit the entire region and also strengthen regional cooperation. I think all member-countries should reflect on that,” he said.

–IANS

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