India and Pakistan boycotted each other’s statements at a meeting of SAARC,Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he would not attend the speech by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar first, announcing at the last minute that he would not attend the SAARC Minister’s lunch while Mr. Jaishankar was speaking. Mr. Jaishankar then made his statement and left the meeting, minutes before the Pakistani Foreign Minister’s arrival, ensuring that the two Ministers were not present in the room together at any point.
Mr. Jaishankar did not comment on the SAARC meet. Later, tweeting about his speech, “Ours is not just a story of missed opportunities but also of deliberate obstacles… Elimination of terrorism is a precondition not only for fruitful cooperation but also for the very survival of the region itself.”
After the meeting, Mr. Qureshi claimed that Pakistan had secured the consent of the group to organise the SAARC summit in Islamabad next year. “If India thinks it is still a member of SAARC, it is most welcome to attend,” Mr. Qureshi said, adding that “no country” had objected to Pakistan’s proposal for the summit.