Three-day SAARC conference begins today

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New Delhi, Oct 23: The three-day SAARC conference that begins here today will focus on curbing the menace of terrorism, organised crimes, narcotics smuggling and human trafficking.

On the opening day, the Sixth SAARC Conference on Cooperation in Police Matters will be held.

This will be followed by the Second Meeting of SAARC Home Secretaries and the Second Meeting of SAARC Interior/Home Ministers.

These meetings will continue the exchange of apex level ideas/perspectives on issues of criticality and work towards enhancement of cooperation in security management and related issues. India, as host, will chair the meetings.

Capacity building, institutional arrangements and multi-lateral agreements will be at the core of these deliberations at all the three levels.

The forthcoming meetings are, thus, expected to deliberate on among others, a network of cooperation amongst police chiefs, SAARC visa exemption scheme, a Draft Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, greater strength to existing mechanisms of cooperation in drugs, terrorism and trafficking.

As SAARC member States are signatories to the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and its additional Protocol and SAARC Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the deliberations are expected to witness increased dynamism within the existing and newly set up institutional mechanisms, namely, the SAARC Terrorism Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) and the SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) flowing from these conventions.

All member States will participate in these meetings.  The newest member State of SAARC, Afghanistan, would be participating in the three meetings for the first time.

The meeting assumes significance in the light of a series of terror attacks in India, including in Ludhiana, Ajmer and Hyderabad.

At the 14th SAARC Summit held in New Delhi, the Heads of Government emphasised the importance of increased cooperation in security related areas, especially the need to combat terrorism, narcotics and psychotropic substances, trafficking in women and children and other trans-national crimes.

They had also expressed their commitment to take every possible measure to prevent and suppress, in particular, financing of terrorist acts and counter trafficking of narcotic drugs and illicit arms.


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