The 18th Saarc Summit concluded in Kathmandu on Thursday with the member states signing an agreement on energy cooperation — thus managing to salvage something substantial in the two-day meet.
A nod from Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and some last minute discussions among heads of states and governments during their retreat outside Kathmandu ensured the deal going through.
“Till yesterday (Wednesday) evening we didn’t know whether the agreement on energy cooperation would be concluded. But we are happy that it finally did,” said Nepal’s foreign ministry spokesperson Khaganath Adhikari.
The Saarc Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation (Electricity) is aimed at easier distribution and transmission of electricity and allowing public and private entities of member states to buy and sell electricity.
On Wednesday during his policy statement Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought signing of the energy cooperation agreement.
“The heads of government took a final call on the issue. We appreciate the flexibility that has been shown for it benefits common citizens of South Asia,” commented external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
But two other important agreements on increased road and rail connectivity within the region didn’t get through as Pakistan opposed them.