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Islamabad Regional Summit In Doubt As More Countries Reportedly Withdraw


Indian Army personnel salute during the funeral of soldier Sunil Kumar Vidyarthi, who died in a gunbattle in Indian-administered Kashmir, at his funeral in his hometown of Gaya on September 20. Eighteen soldiers died in a raid on an army base in Kashmir on September 18. India blamed Pakistani-based militants.

Indian Army personnel salute during the funeral of soldier Sunil Kumar Vidyarthi, who died in a gunbattle in Indian-administered Kashmir, at his funeral in his hometown of Gaya on September 20. Eighteen soldiers died in a raid on an army base in Kashmir on September 18. India blamed Pakistani-based militants.

A major regional summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad, Pakistan, in November might be canceled after Bangladesh and India have said they will not attend.

Indian media were also reporting on September 28 that Afghanistan and Bhutan had decided to boycott the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit over concerns that Pakistan is supporting militant attacks in the Kashmir region that is disputed by Pakistan and India and interfering in the internal affairs of SAARC members.

India the previous day issued a statement saying it was protesting “growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country,” meaning Pakistan.

India also accused Pakistan-based militants of launching a deadly attack on an army base in India-controlled Kashmir on September 18 that left 18 soldiers dead.

Bangladeshi Deputy Foreign Minister Shahriar Alam confirmed to AFP that his country will skip the Islamabad gathering.

India’s The Hindu newspaper reported on September 28 that an unidentified diplomat from Nepal -- which currently holds the rotating SAARC chairmanship -- said the summit would be canceled if four member states refused to attend.

Responding to India’s message, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Islamabad was “committed to peace and regional cooperation.”

Based on reporting by AFP, The Hindu, and NDTV
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