SAARC foreign ministers meeting scheduled to be held on UNGA sidelines cancelled: Sources

NEW YORK: The meeting of the foreign ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which was scheduled to be held here on the sidelines of the high-level 76th UN General Assembly session on Saturday, has been cancelled, according to sources.
The SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting, traditionally held on the sidelines of the annual UNGA session, sees the ministers of India and Pakistan come face to face for the meeting.
According to the sources, the SAARC meeting, slated to be held on September 25, is now cancelled.
Last year in his address at the virtual SAARC foreign ministers informal meeting, external affairs minister S Jaishankar had said that the SAARC must overcome three key challenges of cross-border terrorism, blocking of connectivity and obstruction in trade, a clear criticism of Pakistan.
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also among the participants of the meeting which was organised in continuation of a tradition of informal exchanges among the foreign ministers of the grouping on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiked since New Delhi abrogated the Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy.
India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of the Article 370 was its internal matter.
India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

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