Addu Island (Maldives), Nov. 8 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, will arrive here on Wednesday to participate in the 17th SAARC Summit.
The theme of the SAARC 17 the SAARC summit is building bridges, which seeks to strengthen cooperation between the countries of the region. Dr.Manmohan Singh will also meet his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani and hold bilateral talks with him.
The talks between the two leaders assumes importance, as the meeting would be a follow up of their last interaction in Thimphu, Bhutan.
The Prime Minister will also hold bilateral talks with leaders of each of the seven other South Asian countries on the margins of the summit.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai will be part of the delegation accompanying the Prime Minister.
The central theme of the 17th SAARC summit, building bridges has been selected as a visionary thought to link past, present and future of SAARC without undermining the achievements of 26 years of building SAARC.
The XVII SAARC Summit takes place in Addu City, in the southern atolls of the Maldives, situated in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the third time that Maldives is hosting a SAARC Summit; it did so previously in 1997 (Ninth Summit) and 1990 (Fifth Summit).
The summit covers both the direct implication of connectivity between the SAARC Member States, and also the conceptual connotations of connecting peoples of the SAARC region in all facets, including social, economic, cultural, developmental aspects. This harmonizes with the observance of the current decade as the "SAARC Decade of Intra-Regional Connectivity".
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was created in 1985 in Dhaka with seven members, as an expression of the region's collective decision to evolve a regional cooperative framework. ith Afghanistan joining the association in 2007, there are now eight member countries in SAARC namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The two-day summit is also expected to stress the need to have people-to-people contact in the region as one fifth of the world population lives in the SAARC region.
Presently, there are eight member countries in SAARC namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It also has nine Observers, namely China, EU, Iran, Republic of Korea, Australia, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar and USA. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)