Nearly two decades after it came into existence South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) could have an anthem to unite and strengthen bonds between all eight member countries of the region.
Nepal, which is hosting the 18th summit in Kathmandu next month, is planning to introduce proposal for an anthem in the agenda of summit when heads of all member states meet here.
“We want a SAARC anthem and we are thinking of passing it in our agenda during the summit,” Nepal’s foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey told a Nepali television channel in an interview on Sunday.
Unlike Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the other prominent regional body in Asia, which has an anthem (The ASEAN Way), SAARC member nations are yet to adopt one.
Bigger bodies like European Union (Ode to Joy) and African Union (Let us all unite and celebrate together) also have anthems.
“We could form a committee comprising representatives of all member states to select an anthem and we might have it when we have the next summit,” Pandey told Avenues Television.
He stated that there is a need for such an anthem to make countries and people of the region feel more connected and united.
There may not be any official SAARC anthem yet, but some poems and songs stressing unity and cooperation within the region are already in circulation.
One such is the SAARC song penned by Abhay Kumar, an Indian diplomat posted in Kathmandu.
“I think the Nepal foreign minister’s comments about taking the process forward in the forthcoming summit is a very important step towards an official SAARC anthem,” said Kumar.
His SAARC song, which includes nine major languages of the region, Hindi, Bangla, Dhivehi, Dzongkha, Nepali, Sinhala, Pashto, Urdu and English, talks of all countries in South Asia taking each step in unison.