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Drug curbs, visa on menu

delhi Updated: Jun 06, 2010 23:37 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times

A slew of proposals on visas, police cooperation, drug trafficking and terrorism are in the pipeline for the SAARC home ministers’ meet in Pakistan on June 26.

Home Minister P Chidambaram, who is participating in the meet, will also hold bilateral talks with Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Mathur will be in Islamabad on June 24 to discuss police matters during a meet of police chiefs of the SAARC countries.

The preparatory meetings for the home ministers’ meet will begin on June 23, when two “focal points” of the SAARC grouping — SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk and SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk — meet.

The objectives of the first grouping are to collate, analyse and disseminate data on drug-related offences in the region, while the second looks at analysing and disseminating information on terrorist offences, tactics, strategies and methods.

“These two focal points are important, we hope their effective working can help the fight against terror and drug trafficking, which is often related to terror funding. Fresh ideas will be brainstormed and put forward at the home minister’s meet,” said an official.

Proposals to increase SAARC visas in special categories like businessmen and mediapersons will be discussed.

SAARC business visas, valid for one year with multiple entries, are given to only 100 businessmen. “To promote trade, business and people-to-people contact, there is a proposal to increase them,” said an official. “There are plans to expand the categories for the SAARC visa.”

The confusion on visa policies between India and Pakistan, that has cast a shadow on South Asian University, will also be discussed.

According to sources, the meeting on police matters will deal with “operational cooperation” among the police forces of the SAARC countries. “If it really bears fruit, it will be a major imitative,” said an official.