Source: News Bharati English17 Mar 2016 16:01:59

Pokhara, March 17: Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed the 37th session of the SAARC Council of Ministers in Pokhara, Nepal today where she stated that SAARC is poised to take off as a region of vitality, creativity and economic growth. "We must think innovatively and find solutions to harness our economic complementarities. Together, we can create a viable ecosystem of regional integration, co-operation and socio-economic development," she told her counterparts from SAARC nations.
"Economic, cultural and people-to-people contacts will flow naturally from connectivity," she added. She concluded her address by saying, "We have a shared history and a shared destiny. Let us reach for it together." Speaking to reporters about his scheduled talks with Sushma Swaraj later this evening, Sartaj Aziz said, "We are always hopeful".

The two earlier this morning met over breakfast at the Fishtail hotel on Fewa river ahead of the 37th SAARC Council of Ministers Meeting. Swaraj and Aziz, who were again seated together like at the dinner last night, even went to the side and had nearly five minutes of a one-on-one conversation after the breakfast.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will hold a bilateral meeting with Sartaj Aziz, advisor to Pakistan PM on foreign affairs, later on Thursday, on the sidelines of SAARC Foreign Ministers' meeting in Nepal's Pokhara. Aziz on Wednesday said he is ready to talk about all issues that will be raised by Swaraj. On being asked about other discussions like the recent Pathankot terror in India's airbase, Aziz, however, evaded the question saying, “Pakistan’s special investigation team will soon be visiting India to probe the attack.”

The SAARC Standing Committee, comprising foreign secretaries of eight member nations, has decided to recommend that its SAARC Council of Ministers meet every alternate November. The Council of Ministers is holding its 37th session in Pokhara on Thursday.

According to media agencies, after the meeting, Nepal's Foreign Secretary, Shankar Das Bairagi, who had chaired the meeting, said the recommendation would be made in a bid to ensure that the SAARC Summit is held every two years. He added that as the United Nations General Assembly opens on the third Tuesday of every September, the decision would help the South Asian regional body become more effective in pursuing its agenda of regional cooperation.

The SAARC has already completed 31 years since its establishment but has hosted only 18 summits so far. The summit was to be held every year in the beginning. The 18th Summit was held in Kathmandu in November 2014