Rajnath Singh may bring up Pathankot airbase attack during SAARC meet in Islamabad today
The Home Minister is also likely to press for implementation of the association's Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to bring up the Pathankot airbase attack at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ministerial meet in Islamabad on Wednesday, reported NDTV. The 65-year-old is the first Indian minister to visit Pakistan after the terror attack in Punjab, which left seven military personnel dead and several others injured.
However, according to rules put down by SAARC, member states cannot talk about bilateral issues during summits. Although Singh cannot mention Pakistan in his address, he is expected to call for zero tolerance towards terrorism in the region, The Times of India reported. He will also push for the implementation of the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism so perpetrators can be brought to book.
According to a report by The Hindu, Singh is expected to lobby for making the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk operational. The desk, which was established in Colombo in 1995, will collate, analyse and disseminate information on terror offences in the region. It will also describe the tactics, strategies and methods being used by terrorists, to help governments deal with such problems more efficiently.
“There are some technical issues that are coming in the way of making the monitoring desk functional, despite Pakistan being part of the association; we want to go ahead with the proposal. We are ready to cooperate on all aspects of terror,” a senior ministry official, who is part of Singh's delegation, told The Hindu.
Singh is also expected to talk about fake currency and narcotics smuggled into India from across the border through Pakistan. It is unlikely that New Delhi and Islamabad will hold a bilateral meeting during the summit.
Jama’at-ud-Da’wah chief Hafiz Saeed had earlier warned that there would be nationwide protests in Pakistan if Singh attends the two-day meet. The 2008 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind had accused the minister of "deploying soldiers in Kashmir to shed the blood of innocents", and asked the Nawaz Sharif government to not allow Singh into the country. The Indian Home Ministry, however, had held that the minister's security was the host country's responsibility.