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Opinion

The full potential of SAARC can only be realized in a terror-free atmosphere: PM Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday that SAARC’s full potential can only be realized in an atmosphere free of terror and violence, even as his Nepalese counterpart, KP Oli, called for an early convening of the eight-member regional grouping’s summit. .

Modi, in his message on the occasion of the 36th founding day of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), also called for a commitment to defeat the forces that “support and fuel terrorism.”

“The full potential of SAARC can only be realized in an atmosphere free from terror and violence. On this 36th SAARC Charter Day, let us re-commit ourselves to defeating the forces that support and foment terrorism, and collectively work towards a safe and prosperous South Asia, ”said the Prime Minister.

Modi also said that India remains committed to an “integrated, connected, safe and prosperous” South Asia, and will continue to support the economic, technological, cultural and social development of the region.

In his message, Oli said, “the time has come to move forward with concrete actions on the ground with the necessary political will and commitment. Giving new impetus to the stalled SAARC process, including by convening the Summit in advance, can rekindle hope among our people and provide ground to move forward. “Noting that early coordination among SAARC countries to address To the COVID-19 pandemic is an example of the benefit that our region can derive from increased collaboration, Modi said that India will continue to work with other countries in the region to ensure a strong recovery after the pandemic.

SAARC leaders, under the initiative of India, held a virtual meeting in March to work on a common strategy to effectively deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

In the message, Modi conveyed “cordial greetings” to the citizens of the group’s member states.

SAARC is a regional bloc comprising India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

SAARC has not been very effective since 2016 as its biennial summits have not been held since the last one in Kathmandu in 2014.

The 2016 SAARC Summit was to be held in Islamabad. But after the terror attack on an Indian army camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 of that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit, saying that “the increase in cross-border terror attacks in the region .. has created an environment that is not conducive ”to the meeting.

The summit was canceled after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also refused to participate in the Islamabad meeting.

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