The future I wish for India is the future I wish for our entire South Asia, says PM Narendra Modi

Kathmandu: The 18th SAARC summit on Wenesday began in Kathmandhu, Nepal with an aim to revitalise the regional grouping and make it a major platform to fuel economic growth through liberalised trade and combat challenges of terrorism and climate change effectively. However, the speculations are still making rounds over the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.

The future I wish for India is the future I wish for our entire South Asia, says PM Narendra Modi

The future I dream for India is the future I wish for our entire region, says PM Narendra Modi

Addressing the SAARC summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, ” The future I dream for India is the future I wish for our entire region. Nowhere in the world are collective efforts more urgent than in South Asia; and, nowhere else is it so modest.

Adding that this was his first SAARC Summit but for the second time he was meeting most of them together, Modi said, “I have travelled the world from the middle of the Pacific to the Atlantic I see a rising tide of integration. There is much to learn from each other, even more – to do together.

Modi further said, “India and Bangladesh have deepened their links through rail, road, power and transit. India and Nepal have started a new era of cooperation in energy and, India and Bhutan are making those ties stronger by the day. With Sri Lanka we have transformed trade through a Free Trade Agreement. We will soon launch a new arrangement to meet Maldives’ need for oil.”

Mentioning that Infrastructure is my greatest priority in India, Modi said, “As SAARC we have failed to move with the speed that our people expect and want. We must shrink the distance between our producers and consumers and use the most direct routes of trade. I know India has to lead and we will do our part. Hope, each of you will, too.

Emphasising on simple procedures, Modi added, “Let’s all make our procedures simple, our facilities better, our standards common and our paper work less burdensome. India will now give business visa for 3-5 years for SAARC Countries.”

Remember the horror of the terror attack in Mumbai,​ Modi said, “Let us work together to fulfil the pledge we have taken to combat terrorism and trans-national crimes. There is a new awakening in South Asia, a new recognition of inter-linked destinies and a new belief in shared opportunities. When we join our hands and walk in step, the path becomes easier, the journey quicker and the destination closer.”

11:00 IST Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Pakistan pushes for active role for observers in SAARC

Pakistan on Wednesday sought greater involvement with the observer nations in the eight-member SAARC bloc, saying it should build on convergences and minimise divergences and called for a “dispute-free” South Asia. The remarks by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, addressing the 18th SAARC summit, come in the backdrop of China making efforts to be made an active member from observer status. Read more

10:19 IST Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Instead of fighting each other, we must jointly fight poverty, malnutrition, says Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif

Speaking at the summit, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif said, “I congratulate the government of Nepal for successfully holding the SAARC Summit. From the people of Pakistan to people of SAARC region I bring warm greetings and sentiments of goodwill and friendship.

Sharif further added, “The theme selected for 18th SAARC summit is very important and reflects our common desire in reaching out to get a win-win situation.”

“The gap between the promise of SAARC and its accomplishments need to be built for the greater good of the people. My vision is for South Asia, instead of fighting each other, we must jointly fight poverty, malnutrition,” Sharif added.

10:00 IST Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A day ago, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan is ready to hold talks with India but it is up to India to re-start the negotiations which were called off “unilaterally” by it.

However, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said there was no discussion or debate on the issue and stressed on the “deepening of understanding among the SAARC countries then going horizontally.” On SAARC’s connectivity pacts, Akbaruddin said these agreements were discussed at various senior levels and there was no objection from any country but one state has indicated that they need approvals of their “internal processes”.

India and Pakistan have been involved in a war of words after New Delhi cancelled a Foreign Secretary-level meeting in August after Pakistan’s envoy in India met Kashmiri separatists ahead of the talks.

Modi, after becoming Prime Minister, has been pushing for a stronger SAARC and there has been a lot of enthusiasm among top diplomats of various countries about what he brings to the table to make the eight-nation grouping a regional powerhouse.

The two-day 18th South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation summit will deliberate on a range of crucial issues such as defence and security, improving transport connectivity among the member states and ensuring greater flow of goods and services to boost trade and commerce.