External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said the opening of Kartarpur Corridor does not mean a dialogue between India and Pakistan will start as “terror and talks cannot go together”.
“For many years the Indian Government has been asking for this (Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan responded positively. It doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this, terror and talks can’t go together,” the minister stated, while addressing media in Hyderabad.
The foundation stone of the Kartarpur Corridor will be laid on the other side of the border by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan today. It will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur and Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.While on the Indian side, the foundation stone was laid on November 26 by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
Swaraj also took the occasion to give a strong response to Pakistan’s invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the 20th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit.
“We are not responding to the invitation unless Pakistan stops terrorism, we will not respond. We will not participate in SAARC,” Swaraj asserted.
Yesterday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be invited for the 20th SAARC summit which is to be held in Islamabad. The dates of the summit are yet to be finalised.
Pakistan FO spokesman Mohammad Faisal, while addressing the Kashmir Conference in Islamabad, recalled that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in his first address had said that if India took one step forward, Pakistan would take two, reported Dawn. “We fought a war with India. Relations cannot be fixed quickly,” Pakistan FO spokesman Mohammad Faisal asserted.
It is worth noting that India boycotted the 19th SAARC Summit which was scheduled to take place in November 2016 in Islamabad, following the September 18 terror attack on the military base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.
The summit was finally cancelled as several countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan, also walked out following India’s decision to exit the summit to step up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan.