18th SAARC Summit kicks off in Kathmandu

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The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi meeting the Prime Minister of Nepal, Shri Sushil Koirala, at bilateral talks, in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 25, 2014.The 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit kicked off in Kathamandu today.

The theme of the summit is ‘Deeper Regional Integration for Peace and Prosperity’.

The two-day summit will dwell upon on a number of crucial issues including improving transport connectivity among the member states to ensure greater flow of goods and services for boosting trade and commerce.

Issues related to defence and security will also be discussed. During the summit all the heads of the government will make their policy statements. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay out his vision on what he sees as regional cooperation in South Asia. After the inaugural session of the Summit,  Modi is having structured meetings with the Heads of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives. However, as of now, no meeting of him is scheduled with his Pakistan counterpart  Nawaz Sharif.

MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin when asked on the meeting between both the premiers on the sidelines of the summit said India is ready for a meaningful dialogue with all the SAARC countries. He said Pakistan knows what India means by meaningful dialogue.

Meanwhile, Memorandums of Understanding including development of Arun-III Hydroelectric Project, extension of one billion dollars credit, setting up a Nepal Police Academy, Tourism, Traditional Medicines and on Youth Exchange were signed between India and Nepal, yesterday. Twin-city agreements between Ayodhya and Janakpur, Kathmandu and Varanasi and Lumbini and Bodh Gaya were also signed.

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