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Indian PM arrives in Thimpu to attend 16th SAARC Summit

NEW DELHI, April 28 -– India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh Wednesday arrived in Thimpu, capital of Bhutan to lead India's delegation in the 16th SAARC Summit beginning this afternoon.

On his arrival at the Paro International Airport, Dr Singh was accorded a warm welcome and was received by Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigme Thinley.

Earlier, Prime Minister stressed upon South Asia's greater integration at global and regional levels.The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that South Asia cannot remain immune to the trend of greater integration both at the global and regional levels.

In a statement on the eve of his departure to Bhutan, Dr. Singh said, if the South Asians work together, they will achieve their desired goals.

He said that India is ready to play its part in resurgence of South Asia, as the winds of change are blowing across the world.

Dwelling on this year's scheme of the Summit on climate change, Dr. Singh said, New Delhi is ready to discuss and cooperate regional strategies for tackling the effects of global warming.

He said, the region is particularly vulnerable that is why a coordinated and well thought out response is needed to meet the challenges.

The Prime Minister said that the Summit will provide the countries an opportunity to collectively reflect the present realities as well as the road map to be drawn for South Asia 's rightful role in the international arena. Referring to the robust institutional framework for cooperation in areas like food security, poverty alleviation, terrorism, communication links, trade and economic issues, Dr. Singh said this is high time to promote people-to-people contacts within the region.

SAARC was established on Dec. 8, 1985 by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. In April 2007, at the Association's 14th summit, Afghanistan became its eighth member.

Iran was admitted as an observer in April 2007, at the Association’s 14 summit hosted in New Delhi. (PNA/IRNA)

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