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PM Modi arrives in Kathmandu to attend 18th SAARC Summit

India TV News Desk 25 Nov 2014, 17:11:14 PM IST
India TV News Desk

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kathmandu this afternoon to attend the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit.

This is his second meeting with nearly all the leaders, except for Afghanistan which has a new President in Ashraf Ghani. Modi had earlier invited the South Asian leaders for his swearing-in ceremony on May 26 as part of his government's outreach to the neighbourhood.

Modi is accompanied by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.

As per the schedule, Modi will tomorrow address the Summit where he will lay out his vision of what he sees as regional cooperation in South Asia and India's approach to harnessing the development potential of the region as a whole.

On the same day, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala will host a banquet for all the leaders.

On the following day, the leaders will hold a retreat session at Dhulikhel after which they will adopt the Kathmandu Declaration.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs did not rule out a bilateral meeting between Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit. This will be their first meeting since May, when Sharif attended Modi's swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi.

MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India is for cooperative and peaceful ties with Pakistan.

For the Indian Prime Minister, this will be the second visit to the neighbouring Nepal. He had paid a stand-alone bilateral visit to Kathmandu in August, the first such by an India's Premier in 17 years.