Thimphu: India Tuesday asked its South Asian neighbours to unite in the fight against terrorism by ratifying a regional anti-terror agreement signed by South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations two years ago.
"Terrorism poses a serious danger to the economic stability of any civilised society. The South Asian region is particularly afflicted by this menace. The time has come for us to rally against the forces of terrorism that seek to divide and weaken our societies," India`s External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said here while addressing the 32nd session of the SAARC Council of Ministers.
The session, attended by foreign ministers of eight South Asian nations, comes a day ahead of two-day 16th SAARC summit that begins in the Bhutan capital Wednesday with key focus on climate change and environment.
The foreign ministers` meeting was convened to finalise the declarations and the drafts of the agreements -- one on cooperation on environment and the other on trade in services to be adopted in the main summit which will be attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other heads of the South Asian nations.
Krishna urged the grouping "to join hands to fight and defeat terrorism, including through the early ratification of regional instruments such as the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, signed at the last Summit in 2008".
According to the 2008 convention, SAARC nations are to assist each other and cooperate to combat criminal activities including those related to terrorism. It aims to strengthen regional cooperation in investigation and prosecution of crime.
India and Sri Lanka have ratified the convention but will come into force after the ratification by all other member states.