Addu City (Maldives), Nov. 9 (ANI): Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Wednesday said the 'trust deficit' between the two Asian neighbours has been reduced and that it was a continuing process.
To a poser on how India and Pakistan are planning to take the dialogue process forward and reduce the trust deficit, Krishna said: "I think that process is a continuing process.
When asked that how she would bridge the trust deficit during the meetings between the two countries on the sidelines of the 17th SAARC Summit, Khar said: "I think we have already bridged a great deal of the trust deficit in the last few months. So, we must be positive about the future also and trust deficits are bridged by improving the environment for sure, but also taking some steps. I can say at least from Pakistan side that we have taken steps to be able to bridge that trust deficit."
Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is meeting his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani on Gan Island in Maldives on Thursday.
The talks between the two leaders assume importance, as the meeting would be a follow up of their last interaction in Thimphu, Bhutan.
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.With 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)