India blames Pakistan for a deadly assault on an army base in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir this month that has heightened fears of a fresh clash between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
India says militants sneaked across the de facto border that separates the countries and killed 18 soldiers on Sept. 18, the largest loss of life for Indian security forces in the area for 14 years.
Pakistan says India should run a suitable investigation before it apportions blame and rejects the accusation.
“Increasing cross border terrorist attacks in the area and growing interference in the internal affairs of Member States by one country have created an environment which is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th SAARC Summit,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“In the prevailing conditions, the Government of India is unable to participate in the planned summit in Islamabad.”
Pakistan’s foreign ministry called India’s move “unfortunate” and said it remained committed to peace and regional collaboration. In a statement, it accused India of meddling in Pakistan’s internal matters.
India’s statement came hours after foreign policy adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sartaj Aziz, warned against drawing more water from three rivers that flow from India into Pakistan India.
Aziz said Islamabad would seek arbitration if India raised its use of water from the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab rivers with a commission that monitors the Indus Water Treaty.
India says it does not plan to abrogate the treaty but Modi said on Monday India should “maximise” the quantity of water it uses without breaking the agreement.
If India revoked the treaty, Aziz said, Pakistan would treat that as “an act of war or a hostile action against Pakistan”.
“It’s tremendously irresponsible on the part of India to even contemplate revocation of the Indus Water Treaty,” Aziz told the national assembly.
New Delhi has vowed to react to the Kashmir assault, and has established a campaign to isolate Pakistan including through the United Nations.
Aziz said India’s provocative posturing was an effort to deflect focus from unrest among the Muslim population in the Indian and represented a violation of the water treaty -ruled side of Kashmir.
Split between India and Pakistan since 1947, the flashpoint of Kashmir lies at the center of the nations’ competition.
India on Tuesday summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi and told him that security forces had in their guardianship two guys from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir who’d helped the gunmen cross the border before starting the army base raid.
Indian and Pakistani mistrust has undermined South Asian cooperation and is widely blamed for the poor performance of SAARC, which consecutive Indian leaders expected would help South Asia become a viable economic counterweight to China.