Imran Khan to skip Biden’s democracy summit, PM Modi to speak about democratic commitments...

Imran Khan to skip Biden’s democracy summit, PM Modi to speak about democratic commitments

Modi due to speak during leaders’ plenary on Friday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi “commended” the U.S. for holding a summit for democracies that was inaugurated by U.S. President Biden on Thursday, even as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to skip it, making India one of only three South Asian nations attending the two-day event.

“PM Modi said the democratic spirit, including respect for rule of law and pluralistic ethos, is ingrained in Indians,” MEA sources said, adding that the PM had spoken about the need for democracy in global governance and for technology companies to “contribute to preserving open and democratic societies”.

Mr. Modi is due to make his “national statement” on Friday where all leaders are expected to make specific commitments on promoting democracy, on the lines of the climate change summit, officials aware of the agenda said.

While India, Pakistan, Nepal and the Maldives were invited to the summit, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka were not among about 100 countries on the list.

When asked, Ms. Larson admitted that limits on the number of invitees on the list had been “arbitrarily placed”, but hoped that other democratic countries in the region would be invited to the next summit.

Pakistan’s decision not to attend comes on the back of severe criticism of the summit plans from China, which has not been invited, along with Russia, presumably as they are Communist single-party states.

“We remain in contact with the U.S. on a range of issues and believe that we can engage on this subject at an opportune time in the future.,“ the Pakistan MFA said on Thursday, but did not give a specific reason for missing the summit.

Significantly, the invitation to Mr. Khan had been made despite the fact that Pakistan is one of the few countries the U.S. has a strategic dialogue with, but Mr. Biden has not made a call to Mr. Khan since he took office in January 2021. The absence of any reach out from Mr. Biden to Mr. Khan, even as the U.S. military and State Department are in close cooperation over Afghanistan, has been seen as a snub in Islamabad, and some in the Khan Government had reportedly suggested sending a nominee to the event or missing it altogether.

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