With 13/7 serial blasts in Mumbai looming large in the background, Interior Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries will meet in Thimphu on Saturday.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram left here on Friday for Thimphu to attend the 4th meeting of SAARC Home/Interior Ministers which will have on its agenda matters relating to suppression of terrorism, maritime security, smuggling of narcotic, drugs and psychotropic substances, mutual assistance in criminal matters and trafficking in women and children in the region.
Mr. Chidambaram may have a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik on the sidelines in Thimphu. Mr. Malik who was on his way to Bhutanese capital tweeted his greetings to ``Indian brothers and sisters’’, saying the two nations wanted peace for coming generations. He had a brief transit halt here while being on his way to Thimphu to attend the three-day conference.
If Mr. Chidambaram and Mr. Malik meet in Thimphu, it will be their second encounter after they had met in Islamabad last year on the sidelines of the last SAARC meeting of Interior Ministers.
Ahead of the meeting of Interior Ministers, Interior Secretaries of the SAARC nations have met in Thimphu. Union Home Secretary R. K. Singh is in Thimphu for the meeting. Among other things, the meeting is scheduled to review the progress made in the implementation of the decisions taken at the third meeting of the Interior Secretaries held on June 25 last year at Islamabad.
The 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka in November, 2005, condemned terrorist violence in all its forms and manifestations. The heads of state agreed that terrorism was a challenge to all states and a threat to humanity and could not be justified on any grounds. They decided that the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers would meet annually, preceded by a meeting of the Interior/Home Secretaries, to strengthen cooperation in this area.
The first Meeting of SAARC Interior Ministers was held in Dhaka on May 11, 2006.