News

South Asian Leaders Want Joint Action to Fight Terrorism

Concerns about terrorism and accusations of responsibility for recent bomb blasts in Afghanistan and India are overshadowing the annual summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Colombo.

South Asian leaders are pledging, albeit in vague terms, to work together to fight terrorism.

The SAARC summit convened a day after Pakistan refuted accusations its intelligence service had a role in last month's fatal bombing at India's embassy in Kabul. U.S. media reports Friday quoted American intelligence sources as saying electronic intercepts connected the bombers to Pakistani intelligence.

Indian officials here say Pakistan's prime minister, during a "candid and open conversation" with his Indian counterpart, promised he will conduct "an independent investigation" of the bombing.

India media report that prime minister Manmohan Singh told Pakistan's Yousuf Raza Gilani that "such attacks" would have to stop for the two nuclear armed neighbors to repair their strained relationship.

Speaking at the opening of the SAARC summit, Mr. Gilani deplored the July 7 blast.

"I condemn the attack on Indian Embassy on Kabul though Pakistan has suffered the most terrorism afflicts (sic) on countries of our region," he said.

Mr. Gilani added that regional leaders have a joint responsibility to rid South Asia of terrorism.

India and Afghanistan have also accused Pakistani elements of having a role in the blast in which about 60 people died, including two Indian diplomats.

India is also reeling from a series of domestic bomb blasts. Indian media quote officials as saying terrorist groups based in Pakistan or Bangladesh are suspected.

The Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, speaking at the opening of the summit, called the blast in the Afghan capital a gruesome reminder of the "barbarity" of terrorism.

"It remains the single biggest threat to our stability and to our progress. We cannot afford to lose the battle," he said.

That sentiment was echoed by Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, who said there could not be greater regional
integration until terrorism is overcome. He called for a joint fight to combat it in a region where countries have supported extremists across borders to further their own interests.

"It is time we all realize that the pursuit of narrow geo-political interests and the use of militant radicalism as an instrument of policy can not succeed or serve any long-term purpose," he said.

The heads of all governments of SAARC member states on Sunday are to sign a mutual cooperation agreement to share information on terrorists. It is unclear if and when actual exchange of such information would begin. The 23-year-old regional institution has a record of issuing declarations and making agreements but little success in implementing them.

SAARC is composed of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs