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India won’t attend SAARC, Pakistan must stop terror first,says Sushma Swaraj

That invitation has already been given but we are not responding to that positively. That until and unless Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday India will not attend the SAARC summit in Pakistan and unless the neighbouring country stops sponsoring terror activities even as she welcomed Islamabad’s decision to build the Kartarpur corridor.

Sushma Swaraj’s emphatic “no” to attending the SAARC or South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit came a day after Islamabad’s invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and on a day two union ministers and Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor in Lahore.

“That invitation has already been given but we are not responding to that positively. That until and unless Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, there will be no dialogue and we will not participate in SAARC,” the Foreign Minister told reporters in Hyderabad.

Ms Swaraj, responding to questions, emphasised that though ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri were attending the Kartarpur event in Lahore, it should not be seen in the context of dialogue that has been suspended between the countries since 2013.

“See, bilateral dialogues and Kartarpur corridor are two different things. And I am very happy that for the last 20 years, rather many years, India has been asking for the Kartarpur corridor and for the first time, Pakistan responded positively to this. But it doesn’t mean that the bilateral dialogue will start only on this. The bilateral talks always say that terror and talks can’t go together. The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, the dialogue can start. But the dialogue is not only connected with Kartarpur corridor,” Ms Swaraj said.

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