Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be invited to Pakistan for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, Foreign Office Spokesman Mohammad Faisal said on Tuesday.
The 2016 SAARC Summit was to be held in Islamabad. But after a deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in September that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to “prevailing circumstances”. The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the Islamabad meet.
Maldives and Sri Lanka are the seventh and eighth members of the initiative. Addressing a conference in Islamabad Tuesday, Faisal recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan in his victory speech had said that if India took one step forward, Pakistan would take two.
Prime Minister Modi will be invited to Pakistan for the SAARC summit, Faisal was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper. He said that Prime Minister Khan, in a letter to his Indian counterpart, had expressed Pakistan’s openness to resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue with India.
“We fought a war with India, relations cannot be fixed quickly,” Faisal said. 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. The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu, which was attended by Modi.
Faisal also said that the Kartarpur Corridor, which will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan, is expected to be completed within six months.
“In this century diplomacy has completely changed,” he said, adding policies are now made based on citizens’ emotions and wishes. Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.
It was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522. The first Gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was built here, where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have died. Both India and Pakistan have decided to build a corridor, linking Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan.