Discussion begins on Saarc centre budget, annual programmeThe 53rd meeting of the Saarc Programming Committee at joint secretary level began in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
The 53rd meeting of the Saarc Programming Committee at joint secretary level began in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
The two-day meeting will discuss, among others, budget allocation to five Saarc regional centres and specialised bodies, and their annual programme.
The meeting—the first one since the postponement of the 19th summit scheduled for November 2016 in Islamabad—has been widely expected to defuse tension between India and Pakistan and set the tone for furthering the Saarc process, said officials who hope it will pave the way for engagements at the highest level.
One diplomat participating in the meeting said that officials from both India, Pakistan were very positive, accommodative and flexible at the first day of the meeting.
The first level of official exchange between officials from India and Pakistan and the region showed very positive gesture, though a call from political level is very important to ease the tension and to move forward the Saarc process, the official added.
On September 27, 2016, India pulled out of the Islamabad summit in the wake of the September 18 “cross-border terror attack” on an Indian Army base in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi blamed the attack 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.
The meeting, originally scheduled ahead of the Islamabad summit, could not be convened following its postponement.