Leaders from the member states have already started arriving in the country’s capital city to participate in the seven-nation regional grouping that aims to act
as a bridge between South Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena landed in Kathmandu on Wednesday afternoon for the summit. Likewise, Chief Advisor to the Interim Government of Bhutan Lyonpo Tshering Wangchuk arrived on Wednesday morning.
Both the dignitaries were welcomed by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel at the Tribhuvan International Airport with a guard of honour from a contingent of Nepal Army personnel.
/>Myanmar President Win Myint, who had arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday, visited Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha, on Wednesday. Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari welcomed the visiting president who landed at the Bhairawaha Airport at 11am and returned to Kathmandu at 3pm.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-Cha will arrive in Kathmandu on Thursday morning. The leaders will head directly to Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza from the airport. All the heads of state and government and other visiting officials will reside in Hotel Soaltee.
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will host a luncheon in honour of the visiting delegates at her office before the summit on Thursday. The leaders of the member states will then participate in the opening ceremony, where all the heads of states will make their opening remarks. The inaugural session will be chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
The summit will focus on issues like counter-terrorism, enhancement of regional connectivity and the boost of trade among the member states.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, around 30,000 security personnel from the Nepal Army, the Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force and the National Intelligence Department have been deployed, in uniform and regular civil attire, to guard the summit. A Home Ministry source said that Indian PM Modi and Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina will be given extra-tight security. The two leaders will also have their own security forces. While a group of Indian security forces has already arrived in Kathmandu for Modi (a few more groups are expected to accompany the Indian PM), security personnel guarding Hasina will arrive with her on Thursday morning.
The heads of state of India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Myanmar will return on Friday. The Chief Advisor to Interim Government of Bhutan will depart on Saturday, while the Sri Lankan President, who will also be visiting Lumbini during the trip, is scheduled to return on Sunday.