Saarc Programming Committee meeting from todayThe Saarc process, which hit a snag following the postponement of the 19th summit scheduled for November last year in Islamabad after India’s pull-out,
The Saarc process, which hit a snag following the postponement of the 19th summit scheduled for November last year in Islamabad after India’s pull-out, could see its revival as eight member states have agreed to sit in a meeting of the Programming Committee in Kathmandu on Wednesday and Thursday.
India withdrew from the Islamabad summit on September 27, “in the wake of the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army base in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir, blamed on terrorists based in Pakistan. Three other member states—Afghanistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka—followed suit, leaving the fate of the regional bloc hanging in the balance.
Pakistan postponed the summit, throwing Nepal—the current chair of Saarc—into a quandary. Member states have almost lost their communications since with no meetings or engagements being planned or convened.
But all the eight member states have now agreed to the proposal of the Saarc Secretariat to attend the Programming Committee meeting in Kathmandu. The meeting will take place at the joint secretary/director-general level.
The meeting, originally scheduled ahead of the Islamabad summit, could not be convened following its postponement.
According to Foreign Ministry officials, the meeting will dwell on budget of the Saarc Secretariat and five regional centres of Saarc, among others. The Programming Committee is the lowest level mechanism in Saarc after the Saarc Standing Committee, which is held at the foreign secretary level, and Saarc Council of Ministers held at foreign minister level.