H. E. Mr. Arjun B. Thapa, Secretary-General of SAARC, returned to Kathmandu today from Bhutan. He was visiting Bhutan on an introductory visit from 18 to 19 May 2014. He was accompanied by his spouse, Mrs. Pabitra Thapa.
During the visit, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan received H. E. Mr. Thapa in audience yesterday. Mrs. Thapa was also present on the occasion.
H. E. the Foreign Minister of Bhutan hosted a dinner in Thimphu in honour of H. E. the Secretary-General of SAARC and his spouse on 19 May.
Matters pertaining to the strengthening of SAARC’s mechanisms figured prominently during these meetings in Thimphu. In addition to the SAARC Secretariat, SAARC has a host of inter-governmental mechanisms, eleven Regional Centres and four specialized bodies. A Comprehensive Study prepared recently by the Secretariat spells out measures to make SAARC a robust and dynamic regional entity. Several recommendations made in the Study have already been approved by the Inter-Summit Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers held in February 2014 in the Maldives, while the Secretariat is preparing some more studies in support of other recommendations in the Comprehensive Study.
Another subject that came under discussion in Thimphu related to the Eighteenth SAARC Summit to be hosted by Nepal in November 2014. During the February Session of the Council of Ministers, Nepal offered to host the Summit in November 2014. The Seventeenth SAARC Summit was held in the Maldives in November 2011.
H. E. Mr. Thapa assumed charge as Secretary-General of SAARC from 1 March 2014. As part of his familiarization visits to Member States, he has visited India, Bangladesh and Bhutan, besides paying introductory calls on the Nepalese leadership in early March. He is scheduled to visit Pakistan from 1 to 3 June 2014. Dates for his visits to Afghanistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka are being worked out in consultation with the concerned Foreign Ministries.
Mr. Singye Dorjee, Director, accompanied H. E. the Secretary-General and his spouse to Bhutan on the introductory visit.