South Asia

SAARC leaders to push for connectivity pacts at retreat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other SAARC leaders are headed for a retreat near Kathmandu on Thursday where they are expected to make a last ditch effort to push Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif to ink regional connectivity agreements.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other SAARC leaders on headed for Dhulikhel in Kavre district, 20 km east from in Kathmandu, for a retreat as they are expected to make a last ditch effort to push Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif to ink the regional connectivity agreements.

Retreat is a tradition of SAARC Summit where leaders hold private, unofficial bilateral and multilateral talks in a relaxed and more informal atmosphere. SAARC retreats are ideally organised outside the summit venue in resorts and hotels where the leaders can relax and discuss the bilateral and multilateral agendas. It also provides an opportunity to quell disagreements on unresolved issues.

Since Pakistan has stalled the inking of SAARC connectivity on the pretext that they have not completed the “internal process”, the leaders are expected to convey their keenness to ink the pacts.

Nepalese Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey had told PTI on Wednesday that “there are some roadblocks and we are working to clear them”.

He also said his country will make all efforts to ensure that the connectivity pacts, including the motor vehicle agreement, are signed before the SAARC declaration.

“What was anticipated (inking of agreements) had not happened here. Virtually everybody who met the Prime Minister felt that this will not augur well for the organisation. They were looking a possible review of the current situation given that the leaders will meet tomorrow at a retreat.

“They will informally perhaps raise these issues and convey their sentiments. This could be raised as a major discussion point at the retreat tomorrow,” the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 2:49:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/saarc-leaders-to-push-for-connectivity-pacts-at-retreat/article6639226.ece

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