United Nations : External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj carefully avoided any interaction with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting of ministers, walking out after issuing a call to end the eco-system of terrorism.

After India had called off talks between the two ministers, the focus was on the Saarc meeting here on Thursday which put them in close proximity and Sushma Swaraj took no chances.

She delivered her speech with the warning, “terrorism remains the single largest threat to peace and stability in our region, and indeed in the world”, and left the meeting at the Hotel Westin Grand before Qureshi’s speech.

The Saarc event was billed as an “Informal Council of Ministers Meeting”.

Qureshi later took a nasty swipe at Sushma Swaraj telling the Pakistani media maybe she was feeling unwell, according to Samaa TV.

However, the Indian Minister, who has been keeping a gruelling schedule this week, went on to have her scheduled meetings with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Syrian Dy PM Walid al Muallem.

Before the Saarc event, she had spoken at the meetings of the IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) and BRICS (Brazil Russia, India, China and South Africa).

In her address to the Saarc meeting, Swaraj did not name Pakistan while talking of “scourge of terrorism”.

“An environment of peace and security is essential for regional cooperation to pro­g­ress and achieve econo­mic development and prosperity of our people. The number of threats and incidents that endanger Sou­th Asia’s are on the rise. It is necessary we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support.”

Meanwhile, accusing India of creating an obstacle in regional cooperation, Qureshi said “the attitude of one country is blocking the progress of SAARC”.

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