“SAARC members must cooperate with each other”

RSTV Bureau

rajnathSAARC countries are facing common challenges and they should cooperate with each other to address them, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday underlining that India is committed to reviving the grouping as a major forum to promote active regional collaboration.

“SAARC will be an appropriate platform for meeting the common challenges of the region. . . .The member countries should cooperate with each other to address them,” Singh said after arriving to attend SAARC Home Minister’s conference.

He said that India since ancient time believes in the ideology of ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ (the whole world is one family) and wants to maintain very cordial relations with all of its neighbours, especially the SAARC member countries.

“We can’t change our neighbours, we can only change our friends,” Singh said.

On India’s ties with Nepal, the Home Minister said, “We have very old historical, cultural and geographical relations with the country.”

Before leaving for Kathmandu, Singh in New Delhi had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had demonstrated his out-of-the-box thinking by inviting leaders of all SAARC nations for the swearing-in ceremony.

“It shows the level of importance the government in New Delhi attaches to its immediate neighbours and SAARC nations,” he said.

During the 6th SAARC Home Ministry level meeting on Friday, Singh is expected to flag issues like cross-border terrorism and dismantling of terror infrastructure operating from some SAARC nations.

Issues like suppression of terrorism, maritime security, piracy, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, combating corruption and cybercrimes will be discussed threadbare at the ministerial-level and official-level meetings of the law enforcement authorities of the SAARC countries.

Other issues to be discussed at the conference include mutual assistance in criminal matters, trafficking in women and children and promotion of child welfare in South Asia.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.