Underscoring the need for further strengthening Saarc, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said the activities of the eight-nation regional body should be focused, time-bound and result-oriented one to meet peoples’ expectations, UNB reports.
She came up with the remarks when outgoing Saarc Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa paid a farewell call on her at her official residence Ganobhaban in the evening.
Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting. Noting that there are some common and similar problems in the region, Sheikh Hasina said cooperation among the Saarc countries is needed to effectively address those.
She also put emphasis on regional cooperation which she said was actually the brainchild of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The Prime Minister mentioned the forging of sub-regional cooperation, including BBIN initiative among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. “Let’s start with it,” she said.
She also emphasised joint collaboration with Nepal on hydroelectricity to meet the growing demand for electricity. Claiming that Bangladesh has already attained self-sufficiency in food, Hasina said now the country is considering changing its crop pattern.
She also recalled the contributions of the Nepalese people and the government during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971. The Prime Minister appreciated Thapa’s valuable contributions to strengthening Saarc during his tenure.
At the meeting, the outgoing Saarc secretary general expressed profound respect to the architect of Bangladesh’s independence Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and lauded the visionary leadership of the Prime Minister, saying Bangladesh achieved ‘so much’ progress under her leadership. “We’re happy on your leadership.”
Arjun Bahadur Thapa also thanked the Prime Minister for Bangladesh’s support during his tenure to strengthen the regional grouping. Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi and Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury were present.
The tenure of Arjun Bahadur Thapa as the Saarc secretary general ends next month. Thapa, a career diplomat, assumed the office as the 12th secretary general of the eight-nation organization for a three-year term commencing from March 1, 2014.