SAARC nations pledge coordinated action against terrorism

Members of SAARC on Saturday pledged to step up coordinated action against the common menace of terrorism.

Islamabad: Members of SAARC on Saturday pledged
to step up coordinated action against the common menace of
terrorism, including steps to apprehend or extradite persons
connected with acts of terrorism and facilitate real-time
intelligence sharing.

The meeting of the Interior Ministers of the South
Asian Association for Regional Cooperation also resolved to
step up cooperation in real time intelligence-sharing and to
consider Pakistan`s proposal for creation of SAARCPOL, an
institution on the lines of Interpol.

The ministerial statement on cooperation against
terrorism adopted at the meeting said the SAARC member states
had underscored their "commitment to apprehend and prosecute
or extradite persons connected, directly or indirectly, with
the commissions of acts of terrorism".

They also reiterated their commitment to strengthen
SAARC`s regime against terrorism.

While pledging to strengthen cooperation to fight and
eradicate terrorism in all forms, the Interior Ministers
emphasised the importance of a coordinated and concerted
response to the menace.

The ministers, including Home Minister P Chidambaram,
pledged to implement measures against the "organisation,
instigation, financing and facilitation" of terrorist

They also said administrative and legal measures to
ensure that the territories of the SAARC states are "not used
for terrorist installations or training camps or for the
preparation or organisation of terrorist acts intended to be
committed against other states or their citizens".

The ministers resolved to ensure that "nationals and
entities" of SAARC states who commit, facilitate or
participate in commission of terror acts are "appropriately

The SAARC members -- Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh,
India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, also
acknowledged that linkages between terrorism, illegal
trafficking of drugs, human trafficking, smuggling of firearms
and threats to maritime security remained a "serious concern"
and said these problems would be addressed in a comprehensive

Briefing reporters at the conclusion of the meeting,
Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the existing Sri
Lanka-based SAARC Terrorism Offences Monitoring Desk would be
strengthened to facilitate real time sharing of intelligence.

The SAARC states will work out modalities to
strengthen networking to share information on terrorist groups
and individuals.

Addressing the meeting earlier in the day, Chidambaram
said the South Asian region is faced with a "serious" security
situation, and sought fullest cooperation among member nations
in sharing information on potential terrorists and planned
acts of terrorism to create a more secure environment.

"The increasing threat of terrorism poses a major
challenge to the maintenance of peace and security and
adversely affects economic development in our region,"
Chidambaram said.

Malik said he had proposed the creation of SAARCPOL on
the lines of Interpol so that the collective energies of the
member states could be used to deliver a "good punch" against

Pakistan would support "real action" against all
terrorists because the blood of Hindus, Muslims, Christians
and Buddhists was of the same colour and the grief felt by the
victims of terror incidents was shared by all, he said.

Malik also contended that Pakistan`s actions against
the Taliban had helped improve regional security.

"India and Bangladesh would have been next if the
Taliban had taken over Pakistan," he said.

Pakistan`s actions against the Taliban will continue
till they are eradicated, he added.

A section will also be created in the SAARC
headquarters to handle terrorist funding by individuals or
proscribed organisations and the regional grouping expected
good results, Malik said.

SAARC Secretary General Sheel Kant Sharma told the
briefing that the grouping would work on the creation of an
Institute of Criminology.


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