IB chief to address SAARC counterparts on anti-terror ops

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(Last Updated On: September 14, 2016)

In an indicator that India is going ahead with its SAARC commitment ahead of the summit of the grouping in Islamabad, the chief of India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) will address the representatives of anti-terror forces of other member-countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation on September 22.

The meeting is most likely to be attended by Pakistan, though an Indian official said they had not got the details of the Pakistani delegation.

India had accepted Pakistan’s invitation for the summit to be held in Islamabad on November 9 and 1,0 but the External Affairs Ministry said a final decision would be made only closer to the date.

Director, Intelligence Bureau (IB), Dineshwar Sharma will be leading the Indian delegation and would discuss terror issues prevalent in the region.

A senior Home Ministry official said India would push to make the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) operational, which has been hanging fire since 1995. The desk was established in Colombo in 1995 with an aim to collate, analyse and disseminate information on terrorist offences, tactics, strategies and methods in the SAARC region. An official said the terrorism desk would come in handy to share real-time information on terror-related offences among the eight SAARC nations.

 This will only be the second time in four years that the High Level Group of Eminent Experts to Strengthen the SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism will meet. Last time, India had hosted the meeting in Delhi in 2012 and the then IB chief Nehchal Sandhu had led the Indian side..

Pakistan’s stance

A senior SAARC official told that all the eight member-countries had confirmed their participation in the terror meet. A Pakistani official, however, said they were yet to confirm their presence at the meet but did not rule out sending a representative from the High Commission here.

When Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Islamabad on August 3 and 4 this year to attend the Interior Ministers’ conference, he had announced that India would host the joint-terror meet on September 22-23 in New Delhi. “We are fully prepared for the meet and we have got confirmation from all the member-states. Some might be sending representatives posted in the High Commission here,” said the SAARC official.

“We had offered to host it [the meeting]. It is traditionally done at the DIB level so there is no other message to be read into it. The level of participation is commensurate with the meeting,” said a source.

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