Rajnath to raise cross border terrorism, state sponsorship of militancy at SAARC meet

New Delhi, Aug.2 : Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who will be visiting Pakistan to attend the meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation's (SAARC) Home/Interior Ministers, will raise the issue of cross border terrorism and state sponsorship of militancy, said sources.

Bilateral talks with Pakistan on sidelines of SAARC have not been planned as of today, sources added. Ahead of his visit to Pakistan for the SAARC meeting, Rajnath on Monday chaired a high-level meeting here.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has ruled out any possibilities of bilateral talks with leaders of Pakistan, saying that the visit was strictly for the purpose of attending the SAARC ministerial conference.

Rajnath will be accompanied by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and several other senior officers of the Home Ministry.

The meeting in Pakistan is significant as Singh last week slammed the neighbour state for interfering in India's internal affairs - the current unrest in Kashmir.

The visit also comes in the backdrop of growing strain in Indo-Pak ties after Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made provocative statements on the Kashmir situation in the wake of Burhan Wani's killing on July 8.

Blaming Pakistan directly for the tense situation in Kashmir, Rajnath had said that Islamabad must understand that instigating youth to pick up weapons is not correct.

"I want to tell my neighbour that instigating our youth to pick up weapons is not correct. We don't need third party's involvement to address the situation that prevails in Jammu (and) Kashmir," he said, adding that Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and it must not encourage violence in Kashmir.

At the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka in November 2005, the Heads of State decided that the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers would meet annually preceded by a meeting of the Interior/Home Secretaries to strengthen cooperation in the area of counterterrorism, which they agreed was a challenge to all states and a threat to humanity, and could not be justified on any grounds.

Source: ANI