China to be invited as observer in Saarc summit

Along with China, Japan will also be invited as observer at the 14th Saarc summit to be held in New Delhi in 2007.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 16:10 IST

China and Japan will be invited as Observers to the 14th Saarc summit to be held in India in 2007, officials said on Tuesday.

This was decided at the Fifth Special Session of the Standing Committee held in Dhaka (Bangladesh) to undertake a review of the Saarc processes in its entirety.

India was represented at the Session held last week by Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran.

The Standing Committee also recommended that requests from the US and the Republic of Korea seeking Observer status with the Saarc be considered.

It considered several other important issues including the modalities for admitting Afghanistan as the new member of Saarc, guidelines for Observers in Saarc, a Draft Vision Document that will be adopted at the 14th Saarc summit in New Delhi and the Terms of Reference for Saarc's Observer status at the United Nations.

The meeting took substantive decisions that would facilitate focussing Saarc's activities towards result-oriented and concrete actions, regional initiatives and projects.

Some of the more important ones would be implemented during the 14th SAARC Summit.

Modalities for Afghanistan's participation as the new SAARC member were finalised.

Afghanistan would be invited to attend the 27th Session of the Council of Ministers and preceding meetings as a Special Invitee with a view to familiarise themselves with the Saarc process before the Fourteenth Summit, when they will sign a Joint Declaration formalising their entry into the Saarc.

The Meeting also discussed the draft Vision Document for the third decade of SAARC. This draft would be subject to further review by appropriate Saarc bodies before the 14th Summit.

First Published: Apr 18, 2006 16:10 IST