Nepal invites PM Modi for Sagarmatha dialogue

KATHMANDU: Nepal has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the first Sagarmatha Sambaad forum to be held here in April to deliberate on the most prominent issues of global, regional and national significance, Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said on Friday.
The first edition of the ‘Sagarmatha Sambaad’ is scheduled to be held from April 2 to 4 on the theme “Climate Change, Mountains and the Future of Humanity,” he told a group of visiting Indian reporters.
“We have invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and are awaiting the confirmation,” Gyawali said.
He said leaders of all SAARC countries, including Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, have been invited and Nepal would be happy to host all the regional leaders so that they can have discussions amongst themselves on the challenges facing the region.
The Sambaad (dialogue) is named after the world’s tallest mountain Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) which is also a symbol of friendship, Gyawali said.
Gyawali said the main objectives of the first edition of the Sambad are to forge a common consensus among countries on the impending climate crisis and encourage political leaders to mobilise their political willpower to tackle its menace.
It also hopes to create awareness among participants and the world about the direct relation that exists between the climate change and mountain ecology.
Nepal has the icy peaks of some of the world’s highest mountains.
The dialogue would make an effort to promote and demonstrate its resolve to make it a welcoming ground for all stakeholders for impartial, transparent, open discussion and free flow of thoughts and ideas, officials said.
To be held every biennially, the Sambaad hopes to draw global leaders, including heads of state/government, parliamentarians, policy makers, leaders from the inter-governmental organisations, the private sector, the civil society, think tanks, women and the media to discuss on the ways of cooperation, exchange of ideas and sharing of experiences on prominent global issues.
The member states of SAARC are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In the last three years, India has been distancing itself from the SAARC, citing security challenge facing the region from terror networks based in Pakistan, which is also a member of the grouping.
The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu. The 2016 SAARC summit was to be held in Islamabad. But after the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to “prevailing circumstances”.
The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the Islamabad meet.
SAARC summits are usually held biennially and hosted by member states in alphabetical order. (AGENCIES)