Foreign ministers from the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation or SAARC are gathering in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, to discuss greater regional cooperation.
Their meeting Thursday is taking place ahead of a two-day summit which begins on November 12 and will bring together leaders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
High on the agenda will be the South Asian Free Trade Agreement, which is meant to go into effect in January. The summit is also expected to focus on poverty reduction, economic cooperation and terrorism.
Meanwhile, Pakistan says it supports a request by neighboring Afghanistan to become a SAARC member. Pakistan is the current chairman of the grouping, which was created in 1985 to support economic and social development in region. Pakistan does not object to China’s inclusion in the group.
India is lobbying to include Afghanistan in SAARC but does not want China to be included.
Matiur Rahman Choudhury has more on the story.