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Terror to be high on SAARC summit agenda

In the backdrop of attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, the SAARC summit beginning in Colombo will consider a regional framework for cooperation in tackling terrorism.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2008 15:11 IST

In the backdrop of attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, the SAARC summit beginning in Colombo on Saturday will consider a regional framework for cooperation in tackling terrorism amid India's keenness for having such a legal mechanism for effectively dealing with the menace.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will travel to Colombo on Friday to attend the two-day summit where terrorism is expected to be high on the agenda considering the "vulnerability" of the region to the scourge.

The SAARC meet will discuss how to deal with the scourge of terrorism that is 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.

Favouring prosperity of the region through cooperation, India on Thursday said "crime-free atmosphere" is essential for ensuring growth.

Citing the Kabul embassy attack, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said the incident "underlines how vulnerable South Asia is to the scourge of terrorism."

Sarna, while briefing mediapersons on the Prime Minister's visit, emphasised the need for a "collective action" among SAARC countries to tackle the menace.

In this regard, he referred to the proposed agreement for SAARC Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and said it would be effective in dealing with crimes in the region.