Saarc members agree to combat terror, crime

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Sep 19, 2014-

Saarc member states on Friday agreed to fight terrorism and transnational organised crime in the region and operationalise the Saarc Terrorism Offences Monitoring Desk as well as the Saarc Visa Exemption Scheme.

The agreements were made at the sixth meeting of Saarc ministers of Interior/ Home. The meeting was preceded by the sixth meeting of Immigration Authorities on Wednesday and secretaries of Interior/Home of the member countries on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the meeting also committed to curb corruption and stressed on the signing of the Saarc Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance to tame the growing problem of drug abuse and trafficking of women and children. The meeting also endorsed the proposal put forward by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh to set up a Saarc Centre for Good Governance in India.

In his inaugural address, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said terrorism, extremism, and radicalism pose threats to the culture of harmony and tolerance in South Asia. “These threats are further compounded by organised crimes, cross border crimes, trafficking in persons, narcotics trade and their offshoots in the region,” PM Koirala said.

Stating that Nepal would be hosting the 18th Saarc Summit in Kathmandu on November 26 to 27, Koirala welcomed the commitment of new government in India to work together with South Asian leaders to revitalise the regional organisation as an effective instrument for regional cooperation and as a united voice on global issues. He also pointed out to ample opportunities for making the region peaceful and prosperous, and a better place to live in through collective efforts.

“Today, we witness an unprecedented level of interdependence and interconnectedness. Together with the advent of modern technology, the nature and scope of threats to peace and security has undergone change. Human security has gained pre-eminence in security discourse. Our policies, mechanisms, and instruments therefore must adapt to this changing notion of security in today’s increasingly complex world,” Koirala said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bamdev Gautam said Nepal is willing to cooperate with all Saarc member states on matters of common interest related to establishing peace and security in the region. Saarc Secretary-General Arjun Bahadur Thapa said the meeting of the Saarc ministers of Interiors/Home Affairs would be significant in ensuring peace, stability and development and achieving the long-term goals of the regional body. One hundred representatives, including ministers of Interior/Home and Foreign Affairs of the members countries, except Pakistan, and Saarc Secretariat officials, discussed issues related to peace and security in the meeting.

Published: 20-09-2014 09:25

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