Sun, 26 May, 2024

After 1987 and 2002, the 18th SAARC Summit

By Utkrista K.C.

This is the third time that Nepal is going to host the SAARC Summit after 1987 and 2002. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has eight nations as it members: Nepal, India, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The summit will be inaugurated on November 26 and end on November 27 in the capital city, Kathmandu. The preparations are being carried out rapidly to make the event a huge success. SAARC member countries are likely to sign three crucial agreements on energy and transportation during the summit. The proposed agreements are Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation, SAARC Agreement on Motor Vehicle and SAARC Agreement on Railway. The motor vehicle agreement will pave the way for regular vehicles to ply on the roads of member nations on a reciprocal basis i.e. this will enable free movement of vehicles within South Asian countries. The Agreement on railway will open door for railway connectivity among South Asian countries while Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation will work for energy trade in South Asia. Hotel Dwarika’s is the official venue for residence of dignitaries during the retreat as well as for holding bilateral talks among SAARC heads of state or government. So, stern security measures have been put in Dhulikhel after government decided to hold a retreat there. For security during the retreat, 300 Nepal Army personnel, 200 personnel each from Nepal Police and Armed Police Force will be deployed at the venue. The construction of physical infrastructure is almost done. Two new helipads near the hotel premises are also in the phase of construction. Helipads are constructed at a cost of Rs. 2.4 million. Kathmandu Metropolitan City has sped up the preparatory tasks for the forthcoming summit. Initially, it was assigned the task of making the city clean and green but now it has resumed its campaign to remove the street vendors encroaching the pavements and streets in major city areas. Not only that, it is also working to remove posters / advertisement boards from the streets. Taking loose cattle under control and chasing away the street dogs are also under higher priority before the summit starts. Likewise, the government has decided to announce two- day holiday for public offices and four-day holiday for schools and colleges in Kathmandu valley during the 18th SAARC Summit.