Sushma-Qureshi avoid each other; blame game begins at SAARC meet


New Delhi, EAM Sushma Swaraj made it clear that the regional threat in the South Asian region is on the rise. She was speaking at the Foreign ministers meet of the SAARC countries in New York.

While speaking at the SAARC meet EAM Sushma Swaraj said, “Terrorism remains the single largest threat to peace and stability in our region. It is necessary that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support.”
Addressing a meeting, also attended by her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Swaraj emphasised that regional cooperation can only be successful if it meets the expectations of the people.

Pakistan Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Mehmood Shah Qureshi’s had alleged that the Indian EAM was not co-operating and was not serious and that she was blocking the progress of SAARC talks. Allegations regarding India not being serious about South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation are “baseless and away from reality”, sources said on Friday.

On Thursday, after attending the SAARC Informal Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, held on the sideline of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, Qureshi accused India of creating an obstacle in regional cooperation.

He also alleged that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj left the meeting midway, “blocking the progress of SAARC”.”There were no talks between us. She  left midway, maybe she wasn’t feeling well. I listened to her statement. She talked about regional cooperation. How is regional cooperation possible, when everybody is ready to sit and talk and you’re blocking that?” he told reporter after the meeting.

The sources, however, brushed off all the allegations, saying, “EAM Sushma Swaraj in her speech had extensively dealt with various SAARC related projects. She also expressed India’s unwavering commitment for making SAARC a success as regional grouping.”

Terming the remarks made by the Pakistani Foreign Minister about Swaraj leaving the SAARC meeting “surprising and unfortunate”, the sources clarified, “It should be noted that she (EAM) was neither the first one nor the only one who left the meeting. Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and Bangladesh left the meeting before India’s External Affairs Minister. Also, leaving a meeting after delivering own speech is a standard practice in the multilateral engagements. EAM left the meeting after delivering her speech as she had another meeting lined up with Indian Community groups and other bilateral engagements.”