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India for greater SAARC cooperation in combating terror

Underlining the “serious security situation” in South Asia, India on Saturday pitched for “fullest cooperation” among the SAARC countries to share information “on potential terrorists and planned acts of terrorism” to combat the common menace.

world Updated: Jun 26, 2010 16:51 IST

Underlining the “serious security situation” in South Asia, India on Saturday pitched for “fullest cooperation” among the SAARC countries to share information “on potential terrorists and planned acts of terrorism” to combat the common menace.

"The increasing threat of terrorism poses a major challenge to the maintenance of peace and security and adversely affects economic development in our region,” Home Minister P Chidambaram said at the SAARC home ministers conference in Islamabad.

"We can all undoubtedly agree that the South Asian region is faced with a serious security situation," he said.

Home ministers from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives, besides India and Pakistan, are participating in the conference that focuses on security and counter-terror cooperation among South Asian countries.

Stressing that only the "fullest cooperation” will enable SAARC countries “to effectively tackle the grave threat of terrorism in our region", Chidambaram asked whether the existing conventions have been effective.

"We also need to cooperate with each other in sharing information on potential terrorists and planned acts of terrorism, and all other forms of criminal activities in order to create a more secure environment,” he said.

"It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the instruments and the resources at our disposal are put to the best possible use in our fight against terrorism,” he added.

Chidambaram praised his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik for his opening remarks which highlighted the threat of terrorism and the fallout of 9/11 attack in New York and the 26/11 strike in Mumbai.

This is the first visit by an Indian home minister to Pakistan in decades and the first ministerial visit from India to Islamabad since the terror attack in Mumbai in November 2008 that froze the composite dialogue between the two countries.

During his bilateral talks with Malik Friday, Chidambaram pressed for urgent action against alleged 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack and their handlers.