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    In this Dec. 22, 2013 photo, an Indian army soldier stands guard along barbed wire near the Line of Control (LOC), that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, at Krishna Ghati (KG Sector) in Poonch, 290 kilometers (180 miles) from Jammu, India

    India Seeks Dissolution of SAARC Trade Body in Islamabad Amid Kashmiri Guest Row

    © AP Photo / Channi Anand
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    Indian diplomat Shubham Singh reportedly walked out of SAARC Charter Day celebrations in Islamabad on Sunday protesting the presence of a Pakistani minister of the disputed Kashmir region. India and Pakistan recognise Kashmir as part of their respective territories and have fought three wars over the region in the last 7 decades.

    India has sought the de-recognition of the SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Islamabad, lodging a strong protest against the body for inviting Chaudhary Muhammad Saeed, minister of the disputed Kashmir Region, to the SAARC Charter Day celebrations on Sunday.

    "We have written a letter to SAARC Secretariat to de-recognize SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry", a government official privy to the development told Sputnik.

    SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry is the umbrella organization of the national chambers of commerce and industry of the 8 member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

    The regional grouping has been fraught with differences among members especially after the terror attack on the Indian military's Uri camp in 2016 by terrorists, who allegedly infiltrated from Pakistan. The 19th summit of SAARC was to be held in Islamabad that year, but was called off after India refused to take part. The summit has since not taken place, despite members exerting pressure on New Delhi to resume the process.

    READ MORE: Pakistan Summons Indian Diplomat Over Truce Violations in Kashmir

    On Tuesday, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua reiterated that India, by refusing to attend the SAARC summit in Islamabad, is holding the regional body's summit process "hostage".

    18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu on November 26, 2014
    © AFP 2019 / NARENDRA SHRESTHA / POOL
    Recently, Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan offered an olive branch to India by saying that for every step India takes in the direction of normalization of ties, Pakistan would take two.

    India, on its part, continues to maintain that it will not take part in the SAARC Summit unless Pakistan stops allowing terrorists to use its soil.

    "Unless and until Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India there will be no dialogue and we will not participate in SAARC," Indian Foreign Minister Swaraj said at a press conference in Hyderabad recently.

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    Tags:
    disputed territory, commerce, Terrorism, bilateral relations, protest, SAARC, Imran Khan, India, Kashmir, Pakistan
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