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Connectivity for Shared Responsibility proposed for SAARC theme

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is to adopt "Connectivity For Shared Prosperity" as the key theme of its 18th summit meeting to be held in Nepal from Nov 22-27. 

KATMANDU: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is to adopt "Connectivity For Shared Prosperity" as the key theme of its 18th summit meeting to be held in Nepal from Nov 22-27. An advisory committee formed by the government of Nepal to recommend measures and agenda to be raised in the 18th SAARC Summit has suggested the 'Connectivity For Shared Prosperity' as the central theme of the summit meeting, said former Nepal's Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Rishi Raj Adhikari, who is also a member of the advisory team.

This idea comes barely a week after Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa mooted connectivity as the central agenda of SAARC. He proposed this idea in a meeting with SAARC secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Aug 10.

A meeting of the advisory committee headed by veteran diplomat Dr Bhekh Bahadur Thapa was held in Kathmandu on Thursday. The meeting finalised the central theme of the 18th SAARC summit meeting and recommended it to the Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"We have agreed upon the theme 'Connectivity For Shared Prosperity' as most of the SAARC member countries, too, have suggested ideas almost similar to this," said Dr Adhikari, who is currently the director at the Institute of Foreign Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Heads of state and governments from eight South Asian countries are expected to attend the meeting of the SAARC, which is a group of eight countries of South Asia, created in 1985 to foster greater cooperation in the region along the ASEAN model. Nepal, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Afghanistan are the members of the SAARC, which also has nine observers, namely Myanmar, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, Iran, United States, Mauritius and the European Union.