Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will not attend the meeting of Finance Ministers from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries slated to be held in Islamabad on August 25-26.
According to a report in The Dawn, India has formally conveyed to Pakistan its decision of not sending Arun Jaitley for SAARC meeting.
The report quoting its diplomatic source says that Shaktikanta Das, Secretary of Economic Affairs, would lead the Indian delegation at the two-day event starting on Thursday.
According to the agenda of this meet, the ministerial meeting on Friday will be preceded by a meeting of finance secretaries on Thursday.
Indian government’s final decision comes after a week-long speculation over whether Jaitley would actually attend this meet. The Indian government had earlier said that it was yet to take a final call on Jaitley’s Islamabad visit.
India’s decision becomes significant in the backdrop of the huge controversy that erupted when Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Islamabad for attending SAARC Home Ministers’ meet.
Rajnath Singh was greeted with protests in Pakistan over the killing of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani by Indian security forces.
India’s decision to downgrade its representation at SAARC Finance Ministers’ meet has also put a question mark over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamabad visit in November to atend the meeting of heads of governments of SAARC countries.