New life has been infused in SAARC: PM Narendra Modi

PTI,  August 17 – The Prime Minister spoke on a range of issues including ties with Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bhutan and steps for bolstering connectivity and trust among SAARCcountries. On efforts to boost intra-SAARC connectivity on the pattern of European Union, Modi said that “some people” had problems, in oblique reference to Pakistan which was not forthcoming in finalising a pact.

“Should we stop because some people had problem. Let them stay where they are. We are moving ahead. India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh have signed a pact for building connectivity. It is a major decision which will have implication in the long run,’ said Modi. The Prime Minister said India will next year launch a SAARC satellite which will provide free services to SAARC countries, meant for common people.

“A new life has been infused in SAARC which was earlier a forum for sparring and efforts to corner India. Our dream is to take development of SAARC nations to newer heights,” he said adding “Trust is important in international relations.”

Taking a dig at earlier Indian governments, Modi said there were 700 weekly flights between India and UAE but it has taken 34 years for a Prime Minister to visit the important Gulf country.

Hailing the Indian diaspora, he recalled that the NRIs had overwhelmingly responded to Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s call for contributions the world imposed sanctions on India in the wake of nuclear tests 1998.
Much to the delight of many Keralites in the audience, Modi wished them in Malayalam on the occasion of their new year’s day. He also assured the diapora com munity that his government will address their grivances and difficulties.

Taking on board complaints of expatriates, the Prime Minister said an e-migrant portal has been set up to deal with such issues and the India Mission has been told to rectify technical hitches within a month from today. To help Indian workers who are in large numbers here, he said instructions have been given to the Indian embassy to set up counsellor camps at places where the Indian community is concentrated in large numbers to deal with grievances.

Additionally an Indian Community Welfare Fund has been established to help Indians in distress.

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