External affairs minister SM Krishna on Wednesday left on a three-day visit to Maldives for the SAARC summit during which he is likely to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from other member countries including Pakistan's Hina Rabbani Khar.
Krishna, who will fly to Maldives' Addu city, will attend the SAARC foreign minister's meeting on Wednesday where the focus is likely to be on connectivity between the member states– India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Maldives – and a host of regional issues including trade.
Besides taking part in the regional meet, Krishna is also likely to hold bilateral talks with his counterparts.
During his meeting with Pakistan foreign minister Khar, issue of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India is also likely to come up. There has been some sort of flip-flop on the part of Pakistan in explaining the decision.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will also reach Maldives on Wedensday for the summit. The issue of MFN is also likely to come up in his talks with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani. A clarity on the MFN status may come after meetings.
The theme of 17th SAARC Summit, being hosted for the third time by the Maldives, is 'Building Bridges'.
Official sources said the focus of this year's summit would be on improving the infrastructure of connectivity and trade and better people-to-people contact.
Four agreements will be inked during the summit. Of these two on regional standards, one to establish a rapid response mechanism to deal with natural disasters, and another to establish a SAARC Seed Bank.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, (SAARC) was created in 1985 in Dhaka with 7 members, as an expression of the region's collective decision to evolve a regional cooperative framework.