Manmohan Singh urges SAARC nations to stand united against terrorism

August 2nd, 2008 - 4:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Benazir Bhutto

By Naveen Kapoor
Colombo, Aug 2 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today urged all eight SAARC nations to stand united against terrorism.
Terming the recent attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul and serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad as gruesome reminders of barbaric acts of terrorists, Dr. Singh told the opening session of the 15th SAARC Summit that terrorism is the ‘’single major threat” to the stability ofSouth Asia.
The region cannot afford to lose the battle against the ideologies of hatred and fanatism, he added.
Dr. Singh also welcomed the launch of the SAARC Development Fund and said that economic cooperation and connectivity would be the cornerstones of the SAARC movement in coming years.
Emphasizing the need for better physical connectivity between member nations, the Prime Minister recalled the recent initiatives taken by India to improve rail and road links with Bangladesh.
The SAARC nations must identify and address the challenges as they emerge, he further added.
On his part, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said terrorism and extremism challenge the entire value system in the region.
Gilani condemned the recent terror attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul and added that Pakistan has also suffered a lot and lost its great leader Benazir Bhutto because of terrorism.
He also appealed to SAARC nations to take up joint responsibility for ridding the South Asian region of this menace.
There is need to fight terrorism both individually as well as collectively. The forthcoming meeting of the SAARC Police Chiefs and Home and Interior Ministers in Islamabad later this year should focus on strengthening the regional cooperation against terrorism, Gilani added.
Pakistan also welcomed the SAARC convention of mutual legal assistance on criminal acts.
The two-day summit is being attended by leaders from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan apart from India. (ANI)

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