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Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir addressing at the SAARC Council of Ministers Meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan, today reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to SAARC. The Foreign Secretary noted that over recent years SAARC had succeeded in laying a solid foundation for regional cooperation. However, given the flux in global and regional affairs and the complexity of challenges facing South Asia, SAARC had to introspect on how best to position itself for ensuring development, stability and peace. It was important to make SAARC people-oriented; initiate project-based cooperation; and serve as a vehicle to rediscover the treasures and wisdom of the East.

The Foreign Secretary underscored the need for promoting inter-regional, trans-regional development cooperation and export-oriented trade. Pakistan was actively promoting such cooperation. South Asian States needed to benefit from engines of global economic growth in Asia and be receptive to mutually beneficial links that could accrue from the rise of economic powers contiguous to the SAARC region, like China, just as South East and North East Asia had benefited from the Japanese economic miracle.

The Foreign Secretary stated that multilateral processes were important; long on promise but short in form and format. What was required was demonstration of “real will”. Pakistan also urged SAARC member states to join hands in eliminating the blights of terrorism and narcotics from the region as whole.

08 February 2011

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