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Pak to invite Modi for SAARC Summit

Srinagar, Nov 27: Pakistan Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be invited to Islamabad for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, Dawn reported. The previous summit in 2016 was cancelled after India backed out following the attack on an Army camp in Uri where 19 soldiers died.

The last summit of the leaders of the eight SAARC countries was convened in Kathmandu in late 2014. Recalling Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks that if India took one step forward, Pakistan would take two, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal pitched for dialogue with New Delhi to solve all contentious issues.

“We fought a war with India, relations cannot be fixed quickly,” Faisal said. So far, India’s refusal to engage Pakistan unless Islamabad addressed its concerns on cross-border terrorism has remained a sticky issue for holding the 19th SAARC summit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with his then Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu. (File)

SAARC Summits are usually held biennially hosted by a member state in alphabetical order. The member state hosting the summit assumes the Chair of the Association. Besides India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the 2016 Islamabad meet. The Maldives and Sri Lanka are the seventh and eighth members of the initiative.