Taking a jibe at Pakistan, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said that the invitation to member states of the Bimstec group for an outreach summit at the BRICS Summit last weekend showed that these countries “today represent the polar opposite of a terrorism promoting polity”.

“The selection of Bimstec as the outreach group for the Goa Summit of the BRICS is also worth reflecting upon,” said Sushma Swaraj while inaugurating the BRICS Media Forum here.

“Members of Bimstec — Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand — today represent the polar opposite of a terrorism promoting polity,” she said.

“They are focused on improving the quality of life of their people, on skills and employment, on education and health, and on the quality of governance and the deepening of democracy.”

After last month’s cross-border terror attack on an army base at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 19 Indian soldiers, India launched a diplomatic blitz to isolate Pakistan in the international community. India has blamed the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed for the Uri attack.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi pulled out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) meet that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November in protest against Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan, too, followed suit citing the same reason, while Sri Lanka held that a Saarc summit would not be possible in India’s absence.

As host of this year’s BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit held in Goa on 15-16 October, India decided to invite neighbouring countries belonging to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) instead of the Saarc countries.

Pakistan is a member of Saarc, but not of Bimstec. Sushma Swaraj said that the Bimstec countries were “actively promoting connectivity, cooperation and contacts amongst themselves”.


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