Wednesday, Aug 05, 2020 | Last Update : 05:06 PM IST

133rd Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra45795629935616142 Tamil Nadu2682852087844349 Andhra Pradesh176333956251604 Karnataka145830692722704 Delhi1391561252264033 Uttar Pradesh100310572711817 West Bengal80984568841785 Telangana6894649675563 Gujarat65704485612529 Bihar6203140760349 Assam4816233429115 Rajasthan4667932832732 Haryana3779631226448 Odisha3768124483258 Madhya Pradesh3508225414912 Kerala279561629988 Jammu and Kashmir2239614856417 Punjab1901512491462 Jharkhand140705199129 Chhatisgarh10109761369 Uttarakhand8008484795 Goa7075511460 Tripura5520367528 Puducherry4147253758 Manipur301818147 Himachal Pradesh2879171013 Nagaland24056594 Arunachal Pradesh179011053 Chandigarh120671520 Meghalaya9173305 Sikkim7832971 Mizoram5022820
  India   Sri Lanka PM doubts Saarc future, talks of ‘other options’

Sri Lanka PM doubts Saarc future, talks of ‘other options’

| SRIDHAR KUMARASWAMI
Published : Oct 6, 2016, 6:40 am IST
Updated : Oct 6, 2016, 6:40 am IST

Sri Lanka has issued a veiled warning on the future of Saarc, saying it has been impacted by the current India-Pakistan tension and that “nothing has moved forward in the past few years”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe. (Photo: PTI)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe. (Photo: PTI)

Sri Lanka has issued a veiled warning on the future of Saarc, saying it has been impacted by the current India-Pakistan tension and that “nothing has moved forward in the past few years”. Visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said on Wednesday that “Saarc may become non-functional” due to this tension and that he had detailed discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saarc’s future. “Sri Lanka has options”, he said, adding that if things within Saarc didn’t improve, “each country will have to look at its options”. The Sri Lankan PM also commended India for its “strategic restraint” in the wake of the Uri terror attack and surgical strikes on terrorists, saying “PM Modi has handled it well so far”. The Sri Lankan PM also said “cross-border terrorism is on the table” before the Saarc nations but that war was not an option between India and Pakistan.

“Cross-border terrorism is on the table. Saarc has to look at it and discuss what has happened (cancellation of the Saarc summit). How we are going to handle it Saarc has to decide on two issues — cross-border terrorism and areas in which we can work together... If we don’t do it, there is no future for Saarc,” the Sri Lankan PM said.

 

“It (India-Pak friction) has already impacted (Saarc),” Mr Wickremasinghe said, adding things seemed “finished” and that “nothing has moved in the last few years”. He further said: “We might as well look at this and decide once and for all if it is not worth going along,” he said in an anguished tone. “Your Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and I discussed it extensively today. We all felt ... let’s see how we handle it,” Mr Wickremasinghe said.

Asked what the options were before Sri Lanka, he said Sri Lankans were internally discussing it. But the Sri Lankan PM also said “there should be no cross-border terrorism in India”. Lavishing praise on the Indian PM, he added: “Everyone compliments PM Modi for his approach.” Mr Wickremasinghe said there were no differences between his country and India on this score.

 

Without naming Pakistan, Mr Wickremasinghe said while terrorism was also affecting the internal situation in both Afghanistan and Bangladesh (that had communicated their boycott of the Islamabad Saarc summit along with India), this was not affecting the internal situation in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka also announced its pullout from the Islamabad Saarc summit after India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan decided to boycott it, but before Pakistan said that the summit was being postponed. Many of the other Saarc nations believe the eight-member South Asian regional grouping is a victim of India-Pak hostility and is unable to fulfil its objectives. For instance, at the previous Saarc summit in Kathmandu in 2014, Pakistan had refused to endorse several regional connectivity agreements.

 

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi