India's efforts to collaborate with SAARC are repeatedly challenged with acts of terror: PM Modi

NEW DELHI: In an indirect reference to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi He said that India's efforts for greater collaboration among the SAARC countries have been repeatedly challenged with threats and acts of terrorism .

In a letter to the SAARC secretariat on the 35th anniversary of the grouping's founding, the Prime Minister said all countries in the region should take effective steps to defeat the scourge of terrorism and the forces which support it.

Such efforts, he said, would generate greater confidence to build a stronger SAARC.

"SAARC has made progress, but more needs to be done. Our efforts for greater collaboration have repeatedly been challenged with threats and acts of terrorism ," Modi said.

"Such an environment impedes our shared objective of realising the full potential of SAARC. It is critical that all countries in the region take effective steps to defeat the scourge of terrorism and the forces that support it," he said.

In the last three years, India has distanced itself from SAARC, citing the security challenge facing the region of terrorist networks based in Pakistan, which is also a member of the group.

SAARC, created as an organization to build a connected and integrated system South Asia , aims to promote the development and progress of all countries in the region. India continues to support several initiatives to achieve closer cooperation in various areas, Modi said.

The SAARC summits are generally held every two years and are organized by the Member States in alphabetical order. The host member state of the summit assumes the Presidency of the Association. The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu, which Modi attended.

The 2016 SAARC summit would be held in Islamabad. But after the terrorist attack at an Indian army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 of that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to prevailing circumstances.

The summit was suspended after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also refused to participate in the Islamabad meeting.