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No reservation on China, Japan joining SAARC as observers: PM
December 08, 2005 13:19 IST
Last Updated: December 08, 2005 13:29 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said India had no reservation on China and Japan being conferred the status of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation observers and this would be settled at the next ministerial meeting of the grouping in July, 2006.
"We have no reservations with China and Japan (on their getting observer status). The question is one has the specific obligation and rights which go with the observer status and that will be settled at the next ministerial meeting," he said while replying to supplementaries during Question Hour.
In reply to a question on Afghanistan, the prime minister said the country is going through a difficult period and the government and people of Afghanistan need "our sympathies and support" to tide over the problems.
He said during his talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the issue of the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha by the Taliban was raised.
He said the public perception was that it was a "sad" happening.
To another question, Dr Singh said New Delhi has raised with Islamabad the issue of allowing transportation of Indian goods to Afghanistan via Pakistan.
Welcoming the proposal of entry of Afghanistan to SAARC, the prime minister said it had traditionally been a part of South Asia.
He hoped all countries of South Asia would agree on Afghanistan's entry into SAARC as a member.
To another question on admitting Myanmar into SAARC, the prime minister said there was no such proposal.
He said Myanmar was a part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations grouping and India and other members had the opportunity to interact with it as members of the BIMSTEC or at other forums.
"Therefore, Myanmar's becoming member of the SAARC is a hypothetical issue," the prime minister said.
Earlier, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said the recent SAARC Summit in Dhaka welcomed the request of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for membership and invited it to join as a member, subject to completion of formalities.
The summit also agreed, in principle, that the People's Republic of China and Japan may be associated as observers, he said.
The summit further decided that the modalities regarding observer status will be decided at the 27th meeting of SAARC Council of Ministers in July, 2006, the minister added.