India, Pakistan vie to host merged SAARC centre

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:29 pm IST

Published - November 25, 2014 02:47 am IST - KATHMANDU:

India and Pakistan are among the five countries that are vying to host a new SAARC centre that would be created by merging four regional centres, an official from Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said on Monday.

Besides the two neighbours, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Maldives have staked their claim to host the new Centre called SAARC Environment and Disaster Management Centre (SEDMC). Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal have not joined the fray.

The disagreement surfaced during the meeting of the foreign secretary-level Standing Committee of SAARC in Kathmandu on Monday. The matter will now be discussed by the foreign ministers of SAARC countries who meet on Tuesday.

The centres that will be merged into SEDMC are SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) in India, SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre (SCZMC) in the Maldives, SAARC Meteorological Research Centre (SMRC) in Bangladesh and SAARC Forestry Centre (SFC) in Bhutan.

On the second day of the deliberations, the Standing Committee endorsed a decision by the Programming Committee to close three SAARC Regional Centres and merge the four regional centres for setting up SEDMC, according to Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). The centres that would be closed are SAARC Documentation Centre (SDC) in New Delhi, SAARC Human Resource Development Centre (SHRDC) in Islamabad, and SAARC Information Centre (SIC) in Kathmandu.

The foreign secretaries also agreed to elevate the Programming Committee to the status of a charter body.

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