New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written to the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Secretariat extending his greetings and felicitations to the people of member countries on 35th SAARC charter day.
Modi's letter assumes significance as India has distanced itself from the SAARC citing Pakistan's unrelenting support to terrorism. The prime minister has written a letter to the SAARC Secretariat extending his greetings and felicitations to the people of the SAARC countries on occasion of the SAARC Charter Day, official sources said.
SAARC summits are usually held biennially and 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.
The 2016 SAARC Summit was to be held in Islamabad. But after the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to "prevailing circumstances" and stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan. Nineteen Indian soldiers died in the attack
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.