.: Asia

Date: 31 Dec 2011



18th SAARC summit to be held in Nepal next year

Hameed Shaheen

ISLAMABAD: The 18th summit of eight Saarc member countries would be held in Kathmandu, Nepal, somewhere in the middle of next year, Pakistan Observer learnt here Saturday.

The political infrastructure of the coming Saarc summit would be different from all the previous ones as both Pakistan and India, the major nuclear actors in South Asia, have recently traveled extra mile along their much ‘starved’ search for confidence building and mutual cooperation from political issues to the burgeoning bilateral trade.

It was on the conclusion of the 17th Saarc summit held on November 10-11, 2011, in Addu city of Maldives, that the Maldivian President Muhammad Nasheed had announced the participants consensus to hold 18th Saarc summit in Nepal.

The forum of Saarc is seen as the core area of regional cooperation as enshrined in its founding charter approved in the landmark Dhaka summit of December 7-8, 1985. Islamabad could host only two Saarc summits, first on December 29-31, 1988 and then on January 4-6, 2004.

The last summit held in Addu city on November 10-11, 2011 was devoted to building bridges in various socio-economic sectors among the member countries. Pakistan in that occasion was represented by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

The forum comprises Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The last mentioned joined the Saarc community in 2005.

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