The Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Ministers of Interior / Home preceded by the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Secretaries of Interior / Home and the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Immigration Authorities were concluded in Thimphu from 21 – 23 July 2011 with participation from all SAARC Member States.
The Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Ministers of Interior / Home was attended by the Interior / Home Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives and Pakistan.
The inaugural address at the Ministerial Meeting was delivered by Hon’able Chief Guest, H.E. Lyonchchen Jigmi Y. Thinley, Hone’able Prime Minister of Bhutan and Chair of SAARC. His Excellency stated that “preventing terrorism was about preserving our common values such as democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Therefore, political resilience in being committed to a future of development, security and well-being for our partnership is a critical factor for regional peace and stability.”
H.E. Uz. Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed, Secretary-General of SAARC, while addressing the inaugural session stated “that scourge of terrorism has severely affected our region, causing extensive loss of human life, and colossal damage to and destruction of property and it has also threatened peace, harmony and good neighbourly relations, adversely impinging upon the prospects of regional cooperation among one another.” She further emphasized that the question of maritime security is of all the more relevance to our countries given SAARC’s objective of promoting intra-regional connectivity through all modes of transport, including through sea connectivity. She mentioned that the Indian Ocean Cargo and Passenger Ferry Service/Network involving initially India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, is hoped to be launched by the end of this year.
The steps taken by SAARC Member States in the implementation of the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and its Additional Protocol, the SAARC Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution and the SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangement for the Promotion of Child Welfare in South Asia were discussed at the Meeting.
The Ministers also considered and recommended the Reports of the Fourth Meeting of SAARC Immigration Authorities (Thimphu, 21 July 2011) and the Report of the Fourth Meeting of SAARC Secretaries of Interior / Home (Thimphu, 22 July 2011). Further the Ministerial Meeting considered and made relevant recommendations and approved the Reports of the Fourth Meetings of the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) and the SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk (SDOMD) and the Ninth SAARC Police Conference on Cooperation in Police Matters, which were all held in Colombo, from 4 – 5 April 2011.
For the first time in the history of SAARC, matters related to Maritime Security and Piracy were taken up for discussion among the Ministers and due recommendations were made on the steps to be taken by Member States, which are to be discussed in the forthcoming Meetings of Ministers of Interior / Home and related Meetings.
At this Meeting the Maldives offered to host the Fifth Meeting of the SAARC Ministers of Interior / Home preceded by the Fifth Meeting of the SAARC Secretaries of Interior/Home and the Fifth Meeting of SAARC Immigration Authorities in 2012. India is expected to host the Fifth Meetings of the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) and the SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk (SDOMD) and the Tenth SAARC Police Conference on Cooperation in Police Matters in June 2012.