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PM Modi to lay out vision for regional cooperation at SAARC Summit

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay out his vision for regional cooperation in South Asia and India's approach to harnessing the developmental potential of the region as a whole during the upcoming 18th
PTI November 24, 2014 7:50 IST
PTI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay out his vision for regional cooperation in South Asia and India's approach to harnessing the developmental potential of the region as a whole during the upcoming 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in Nepal.

With the two-day Summit set to begin on November 26, the external affairs ministry said India was ready to engage and sign agreements should there be consensus among the SAARC countries in the areas of transport and energy, especially electricity.

Modi will be leading a power-packed delegation, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and national security adviser Ajit Doval, to Nepal on Tuesday to attend the meet.

"The visit, which is essentially for the SAARC Summit, will also have a substantial bilateral component," Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told reporters here.

India sees SAARC as a regional cooperative framework for promoting active collaboration in economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields so as to accelerate regional growth and development, he said.

Giving details of the programme schedule, the spokesperson said that the morning session on November 26 would be devoted to policy statements by all leaders following the initial inauguration of the Summit.

All heads of government will make their policy statements following which they will consider reports submitted to them by the SAARC council of ministers and sign any agreements that have been recommended by them.

The SAARC is composed of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

"The policy statements will be in alphabetical order and Prime Minister Modi will lay out his vision of what he sees as regional cooperation in South Asia and India's approach to harnessing developmental potential of the region as a whole," he said.

The afternoon will be free for bilateral interactions. "It is our intention to hold as many bilateral interactions as possible," Akbaruddin said.

However, he remained non-committal on a meeting between Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, saying that the schedule is yet to be firmed up.