Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be representing India at the seventh SAARC meeting in Islamabad on August 4. “The Home Minister will be representing India at the seventh meeting of the SAARC ministers of Interior/Home, which is being hosted by Pakistan on August 4 in Islamabad.
This would be preceded by the seventh meeting of the SAARC secretaries of Interior/Home on August 3. The seventh meeting of the SAARC immigration authorities will take place on August 2,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the media here.
He said the sixth round of the meeting was held in Kathmandu in September 2014, where Singh and the then home secretary Anil Goswami had participated. “These meetings discuss regional cooperation on a number of security-related matters and take stock of progress in various regional mechanisms. Our participation is in the context of our neighbourhood first policy and our commitment to regional cooperation within the SAARC framework,” he added.
Swarup said the meeting provides an opportunity for India to underline the high importance it attaches to achieving forward movement on security cooperation in the region. Rajnath would attend the SAARC Home/Interior Ministers meeting in Islamabad on August 3 and 4. Sources, meanwhile, said the Home Minister will raise the issue of cross-border terrorism at the meeting.
At the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka in November 2005, the Heads of State decided that the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers would meet annually preceded by a meeting of the Interior/Home Secretaries to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism, which they agreed was a challenge to all states and a threat to humanity, and could not be justified on any grounds.
The first meeting of SAARC Interior/Home Ministers was held in Dhaka on May 11, 2006, followed by a meeting in New Delhi in 2007.