ECO Summit: Indian foreign policy clout could only stop one head of state from coming to Pakistan

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ECO Summit: Indian foreign policy clout could only stop one head of state from coming to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Policy gets a major boost by holding the 10 countries Economic Cooperation Organisation Summit on March 1.

The stage is set for 13th summit of the 10 countries of Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) being hosted here Wednesday (tomorrow). Eight heads of states/ governments have confirmed to participate in the summit including Turkey’s President Recept Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Dr Hasan Rouhani.

Apart from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, five presidents and three prime ministers will participate in the ECO summit to be held in Islamabad on March 1.

 The heads of state and government from Iran, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan will be the participants of the ECO summit.

With the commencement of the summit, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will assume the office of the chairman of the organisation as ‘Islamabad Declaration’ would be adopted by the summit. Well placed diplomatic sources reveal that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has declined to attend the summit since he has been persuaded by New Delhi not to turn up in the gathering.

Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Salahuddian Rabbani will head his country’s delegation. Interestingly, Afghanistan was the first to announce boycotting summit of South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) scheduled in November last year in Islamabad. India then influenced Afghanistan to announce the boycott.

Indian leaders wanted to isolate Pakistan in the world community to grind its axe with Islamabad. Kabul became instrument in subverting the Saarc. 

Pakistan has made elaborate arrangements for the Saarc and the government had spent about eight billion rupees for befitting arrangements for the Saarc summit. Five billion rupees were given to Capital Development Authority (CDA) to renovate and uplift face of the city.

The infrastructure made for the Saarc summit now is being used for the ECO summit. India also created hurdles in replacing Yar Bahadur Thapa, secretary Saarc, with Pakistan’s senior diplomat Amjad Sayyal but India had to withdraw its objections and Sayyal would assume the office tomorrow.