New Delhi: Pakistan was invited for the two-day meeting of the SAARC grouping on animal diseases held here recently but the neighbouring country chose not to send its representative, the government today said.
The invitation for the first 'SAARC Epidemiology Networking Forum' meeting was sent by the UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
"The fact is that FAO invited nominations from all MSs (member states) of SAARC and no nomination from Pakistan could be received by FAO and the same was conveyed by FAO to the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries," an official statement issued by the Agriculture Ministry said.
The meeting was held in the national capital on February 27-28 and was jointly organised by the Government of India, the SAARC Secretariat and FAO.
"The 1st EpiNet meeting was a purely technical meeting and the FAO of UN, who initiated this programme, is a neutral organisation as regard to its stand on any political conflicts anywhere in the world," the statement said.
Last week, the ministry had said in a statement that the epidemiology focal points "from the 7 member states, except Pakistan, participated in the meeting".
The objective of the meeting was to operationalise a sustainable and functioning veterinary epidemiology network among the eight SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) member states to build collaboration to achieve a more effective and efficient control of trans-boundary animal diseases, including zoonoses.