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SAARC nations vow to combat terrorism, piracy, human trafficking

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Kathmandu (Sept 19, 2014): SAARC countries on Friday vowed to combat common challenges of terrorism, piracy, human trafficking, drugs smuggling, cyber crime and corruption by forging cooperation among the law enforcement agencies of the eight-member grouping.

In the sixth meeting of SAARC Interior and Home Ministers, which concluded here today, the member nations also unanimously endorsed India's proposal to establish a SAARC School of Governance in the region with the aim of promoting good governance among the member countries.

The meeting also agreed to forge cooperation and collaboration among their law implementing agencies for strengthening and expanding them to ensure more security in the region, according to a statement issued by SAARC Secretariat.

The member nations extensively discussed issues relating to combating terrorism in its all forms, collective responses to fight transnational organised crimes, drug abuse, cyber crimes, corruption, maritime security, piracy and trafficking of women and children.

The home ministers also deliberated on operationalisation of SAARC Terrorism Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) and SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk (SDOMD) located in Colombo, Sri Lanka as well as matters relating to SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme.

"The meeting expressed commitment for combating terrorism, human trafficking, drugs smuggling, cyber crime and corruption, which are the common challenges facing the SAARC member countries," Nepal Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam said, addressing a press meet after the conclusion of the meet.

The meeting was inaugurated by Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

The Indian delegation was led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Pakistan Home Minister Chaudhry Nisar skipped the meeting, citing the massive flooding in the country that killed over 300 people.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.