Bhutan on Tuesday made a strong case for implementation of SAFTA to boost intra-SAARC trade and advocated a "well coordinated" approach to tackle terrorism, drug trafficking and the spread of HIV/AIDS.
At the opening ceremony of the 14th SAARC summit here, Bhutan Prime Minister Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk drew the member countries' attention to resource crunch in implementation of the SAARC Development Goals.
Asserting that achieving SAARC Development Goals was a challenge, he said a major problem faced by the countries was availability of funds and favoured operationalisation of a SAARC Development Fund for regional projects.
Highlighting the importance of enhancing regional trade in South Asia, he said the signing of SAFTA would be a boost to intra-SAARC trade.
"Economic cooperation lies at the heart of successful regional cooperation," he said noting that implementation of SATFA and liberalisation of trade should be taken up at the earnest.
The Prime Minister underscored the need for a "well- coordinated approach" and strengthening of efforts to tackle evils like terrorism, drug trafficking and the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The Bhutanese leader also spoke about cooperation in the field of energy to boost social and economic growth in the region.