Thimphu: Facing threats posed by terrorism and climate change, India and seven other SAARC nations on April 28 pledged to jointly combat the twin challenges, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking cooperation within the bloc to revive South Asia as a source of new ideas and opportunities.
Kicking off the two-day SAARC Summit here, Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Thinley said no cause can be enhanced or served through acts of terror and those responsible for such heinous crimes must know that they would be brought to justice.
Voicing concerns over the menace of terrorism, extremism and radicalism, Dr. Manmohan Singh asked the SAARC countries to pledge to “revive the South Asia of our dreams that is once again a source of new ideas, new knowledge and new opportunities.”
In a hard-hitting speech, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said terrorism cannot be eliminated until all SAARC members without exception or reservation commit not to allow their territories to be used directly or indirectly to shelter, arm or train terrorist groups.
Dr. Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani made no mention of Indo-Pak relations in their speeches as they sat on the dais along with leaders from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Nepal and Afghanistan.
In unusual remarks, Maldivian President Moham-mad Nasheed talked about the strained relations between India and Pakistan, saying he hoped that the Prime Ministers of the two nations would lead to resolution of their differences.
The leaders noted that the SAARC countries have finalized a Regional Convention on Environment and made a strong pitch for having a joint position for the bloc at the climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, in December.