The 16th SAARC summit began in Thimphu today with heads of eight South Asian countries seeking a joint initiative to tackle climate change threats and also boost trade and regional cooperation among SAARC nations.
The conference got under way in this serene and pollution-free capital city of Bhutan the summit's key theme "Towards a Green and Happy South Asia" seems only apt.
Seeking a fresh approach to global climate talks the SAARC leaders would pitch for observer status to the bloc at the Mexico conference on global warming later this year. This would enable the eight South Asian nations - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan besides India - to expressive their concerns collectively and effectively, an Indian official told IANS.
The next global climate talks after Copenhagen in September last are likely to be held in Cancun in Mexico in December.
The Thimphu summit marks the silver jubilee celebration of SAARC that was formed in Bangladesh in December 1985 with the aim of eradicating poverty and improving the living standard of 1.5 billion people of the region through mutual cooperation.
Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna hoped that the dialogue on climate change would be carried in a "meaningful manner" at the summit.