SOUTH ASIA moved closer to an agreement that would ensure regional cooperation in matters of crime and terror despite the absence of bilateral pacts.
Home secretaries of the eight SAARC nations on Wednesday spoke of early finalisation of the legal advisers’ report who are examining the idea of a regional convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters.
India had mooted a draft of the convention in Dhaka last year. It would provide a legal basis to frame a common strategy to counter international terrorism.
Delhi’s draft suggests cooperation in making detained persons available to assist investigations, taking measures to locate, restrain or seize the proceeds and instruments of crime, and taking measures to locate, freeze and confiscate any funds meant to finance terrorist acts in the region.
Home ministry spokesman Onkar Kedia said the member countries were convinced that terrorism, drug offences, human trafficking and arms smuggling posed challenges to the entire region and had to be fought jointly.
The recommendation of the home secretaries will be put up for the home ministers’ approval on Thursday.