Special Correspondent

Will travel to Pakistan as part of 8,000 km sojourn through 7 SAARC nations

CHANDIGARH: In perfect symphony with the beat of drums and the Chandigarh Police Band playing "Sare Jahan Se Achha... .", the SAARC Car Rally was flagged off for the Wagah border from here early on Wednesday morning by Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator S.F. Rodrigues.

The rally, consisting of 30 Tata Safaris and over 100 participants, had started from Bangladesh and reached Chandigarh on Tuesday night. Cheered by senior officers of the Chandigarh Administration and the Confederation of Indian Industry, the vehicles rolled out underneath the majestic Open Hand monument on their way to the historic city of Amritsar.

Those present included Union Territory Home Secretary Krishna Mohan, Finance Secretary S. K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner R. K. Rao and Director Tourism Vivek Atray.

The Governor, talking informally to the rally participants, underlined the importance of friendship, partnership and solidarity among the SAARC nations and said people-to-people contact was the best way to achieve this. He exhorted the rally participants to not only enjoy the hospitality and welcome in each country but also strive for promotion of friendship, harmony, peace and trade among the SAARC countries.

The participants, belonging to all SAARC countries, are travelling across nearly 8,000 km spanning Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives over a 31-day period. The rally has been sponsored by the External Affairs Ministry, CII and SAARC nations.