KATHMANDU- Diplomats, foreign policy experts, academicians and heads of think tanks have urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to amend the proposed theme of the 18th SAARC Summit to be held in Kathmandu later this year.
An advisory committee headed by former foreign minister Bhekh Bahadur Thapa on August 14 recommended to the ministry “Connectivity for Shared Responsibility” as the central theme of the summit.
Since two summits in the past—14th in New Delhi and 17th in Male—had connectivity as the central theme, there have been calls to come up with a new idea.
In a meeting convened by Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey on Thursday, prime minister’s foreign relations adviser Dinesh Bhattarai said the theme on democracy would not be a bad idea since all the SAARC nations are functioning democracies. National Planning Commission Vice-chairman Govinda Pokhrel suggested energy as the theme.
NPC member Swarnim Wagle is learnt to have proposed “Deeper Integration for Greater prosperity”.
“We should be more imaginative and focus on promoting tourism, youth issues and assisting Afghanistan,” said Nishchal N Pandey, director of the Centre for South Asian Studies, about the theme.
The ministry will decide the theme and table it in the Cabinet for endorsement. Acting Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi expressed his opinion at the meeting that the theme should have relevance and regional appeal, and it should capture the SAARC spirit and regional sentiments.
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