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South Asia seeks cooperation against terrorism

Written by: Staff
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DHAKA, May 10 (Reuters) Top interior ministry officials from South Asian countries today called for greater cooperation in the fight against terrorism, saying it was the most serious challenge facing the region.

The officials are in Dhaka for a meeting of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to find ways to tackle terrorism and other crimes such as trafficking of women and children.

''Terrorism is the most critical challenge SAARC is facing and the importance to combat terrorism is growing high,'' said Bangladesh State Minister for Home Affairs, Lutfuzzaman Babar, in his inaugural address.

SAARC groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The regional grouping formally offered membership to Afghanistan and observer status to China in December.

But Kabul and Beijing did not send representatives to today's meeting which will be followed by a meeting of the interior ministers of the seven nations.

''Strengthening of police networking and action against drug trafficking is also high on the agenda,'' an Indian official told Reuters.

REUTERS SI RK1246

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