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India favours inclusion of China in SAARC as observer
Ajay Kaul in Dhaka | November 12, 2005 13:51 IST
Last Updated: November 12, 2005 19:55 IST
Favouring inclusion of China into the South Asian Association for Regional Coopreation as an observer or a dialogue partner, India Saturday said 'certain modalities' have to be worked out for which a special session of the Standing Committee of the organisation will be convened early 2006.
Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said that a memorandum of understanding would have to be signed between SAARC and China in case it was associated with the seven-nation South Asian organisation.
China has made a request to SAARC for admission into the organisation either as an observer or a dialogue partner.
"We would welcome inclusion of China on mutually-beneficial basis. But certain modalities have to be worked out," Saran told a group of reporters on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit in Dhaka.
Depending on whether China is associated as a dialogue partner or an observer, Beijing will have to sign an MoU like that exists with Japan, Germany and the European Union, Saran told a group of reporters on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit.
To work out the modalities, Saran said, SAARC has decided to convene a special session of Standing Committee early 2006.
Sources said the SAARC Charter at present did not have any provision of having an observer and as such some amendments might have to be made to make the adjustments.
At the SAARC ministerial meeting, where no consensus could be reached on inclusion of Afghanistan and China, Nepal
There is, however, unanimity on entry into the SAARC of Afghanistan, the second country of Asia which had applied for the membership.
"This Dhaka summit will be remembered as a landmark event for we would welcome the brotherly country of Afghanistan to the SAARC family," Pakistan Prime Minister and outgoing SAARC Chairman Shaukat Aziz said addressing the inauguration of 13th Summit Saturday.
He said inclusion of Afghanistan would "undoubtedly enrich our organisation and add to its strength".
On China, Aziz said, "we welcome the interest of our friend and neighbour" to be associated with the organisation
Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan Friday said a couple of delegations had raised technical issues to requests of both Afghanistan and China.
Without naming any country, Khan said "reservations" were voiced mainly on account of first settling guidelines for granting such a status before considering such a request.
Khan said there was another view that the two requests should be linked before modalities were worked out.
Pakistan Saturday supported bids by Afghanistan and China for the seven-member SAARC grouping.