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PM off to Sri Lanka for SAARC summit

india Updated: Aug 01, 2008 10:16 IST

PTI
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday left for Colombo to attend the SAARC summit beginning on Saturday, during which terrorism is expected to figure prominently.

During his three-day stay, Singh is expected to meet his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the summit and is likely to convey India's concerns over the recent spurt in cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations.

The two-day summit will consider a regional framework for cooperation in tackling terrorism amid India's keenness for having a legal mechanism for effectively dealing with the menace.

India maintains that terrorism was a common threat which needs to be dealt collectively by all the SAARC nations.

New Delhi contends that a crime free atmosphere was essential for the growth of all the countries of the region.

On the eve of his visit to Colombo, Singh pitched for cooperation among SAARC member countries to face the "common challenges".

"Today, there is a realisation amongst SAARC countries that it is only by cooperating within SAARC that we will be able to strengthen ourselves individually and as a region and address the many common challenges that face us," he said in a statement.

The meet will also discuss how to deal with the scourge of terrorism that was affecting several of the eight member countries, particularly India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Besides these countries, SAARC also comprises Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Bhutan.