15th SAARC summit
India approves document to ensure mutual cooperation in tackling crime
The stage is set for the eight nations SAARC Summit which begins in Colombo today with a two-day Programming Committee meeting and ending with a meeting of heads of State or governments on August 2 and 3.
The eight leaders will participate in the 15th Summit, the theme of which is "SAARC for Partnership for our People."
Besides, the member countries seven observer states- Japan, the United States, the European Union, China, South Korea, Iran and Mauritius will also attend the regional summit.
Meanwhile the Indian Cabinet on Thursday approved a document to ensure mutual cooperation among SAARC countries to deal with criminal matters. The approval for "brief for negotiation" to finalise the text of the SAARC convention was given at a Union Cabinet meet, Minister P R Dasmunsi said.
"The convention would provide a broad framework for SAARC member states to mutually cooperate and assist in the investigation and prosecution of crime and restraint and forfeiture of the proceeds and instruments of crime," he said.
The Cabinet also approved authorizing External Affairs Ministry to negotiate and finalize the text and for signing it during the SAARC summit in Colombo, he said.
Police on Thursday said 12,000 more police would be deployed to guard South Asian leaders, who will also have their own heavy securit during the summit.
Police deputy Inspector-General Nimal Mediwaka said the 12,000 men will reinforce soldiers, who will also deploy in strength ahead of the two-day SAARC leaders meeting starting on Aug 2.
“The heads of state will have their own security personnel to provide close protection,” said Mediwaka, who is responsible for security in the already tightly-guarded capital of 650,000 people. He said key roads in the city will be closed for normal traffic during the summit that will be attended by leaders of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
India is reported to be bringing in thousands of troops as part of security for its Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will also travel within Sri Lanka in Indian military helicopters and bullet-proof cars.
New Delhi is sending war ships to anchor off Sri Lanka’s coast to evacuate its delegates in case of any closure of the island’s only international airport. The LTTE had announced a unilateral truce for the duration of the summit.