Nepal PM may seek India’s support over stalled Saarc summit

Nepal PM may seek India’s support over stalled Saarc summit

SAM Report,
Nepal PM K P Oli

Nepal PM K P Oli may seek India’s support for reviving the stalled Saarc summit process, according to diplomatic sources. While it is not part of the main agenda for talks between Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, sources said the Nepal PM is keen to move ahead with Saarc and is likely to discuss the possibility of holding the summit later this year in Islamabad.

Indian officials though said that while they were aware of countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives expressing support for Saarc summit in Islamabad, there was no formal proposal to host the event any time soon. The summit cannot be held if India decides to boycott it.

Nepal is the current Chair of Saarc and is keen, as a senior diplomat here said, to pass on that responsibility to Pakistan. The 19th summit scheduled in 2016 in Islamabad could not take place due to India’s decision to boycott the event after the terror attack on an army camp in Uri, which left 19 Indian soldiers dead.

As a source in Kathmandu put it, Pakistan PM Shahid Abbasi’s visit to Nepal, the first by any foreign leader after Oli took over as PM, was mostly about getting Kathmandu’s support for the summit which Islamabad wants to host at the earliest.

After Abbasi’s meeting with Oli this month, the latter’s chief political advisor Bishnu Rimal was quoted as having said that both leaders held a common view on taking the SAARC forum ahead as it was a common platform for all member-countries and still significant. “They also emphasised on resolving any issue of difference in Saarc through dialogue and discussion,” he had said.

For India though it is important to ensure that the summit is not held under pressure from China which is apparently keen that the event be held soon. Official sources here said there was no official proposal to hold the summit soon.