KATHMANDU- Indian and Nepali officials today said that Pakistan declined to sign three multilateral pacts with the eight members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars, and just last month exchanges of fire across the border in Kashmir killed 20 humans.

In an apparent reference to Pakistan, India’s foreign ministry representative said one country had cited incomplete “internal processes” for not signing the pacts, but stopped short of naming it.

Such a refusal threatens efforts by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make South Asia a viable economic counterweight to China and limit Beijing’s role in the region.

Despite a free trade pact since 2006, trade among South Asian nations makes up five percent of their total trade.

China, free of the baggage that makes much of the region wary of India, has built ports and sold weapons across South Asia, where its new Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank has attracted interest.

Through Pakistan, China suggested it play a larger role in the regional grouping, but India rebuffed the proposal.

The region’s first summit in three years follows some of the worst cross-border violence in the disputed region of Kashmir in a decade.

It is also the first time the eight leaders are meeting for the first time since the election of a new government in New Delhi that is taking a more assertive stance on both China and Pakistan.

“After the recent snub from India, which cancelled foreign secretary-level talks, Pakistan is not going to take the initiative. It will depend whether Modi says he wants to meet,” Pakistani political analyst Talat Masood told.