Meeting of South Asian parliamentarians begins

Shimla, June 2:

The two-day meeting of the parliamentarians of South Asia began here today with the slogan ‘South Asian Parliament: Towards South Asian Unity.’

Altogether 83 Members of Parliament (MPs) and Speakers of the eight SAARC member countries and more than 60 media persons are taking part in the meeting organised by the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) to mark the 150th anniversary of the freedom struggle of India.

The seven-member Nepali delegation to the meeting is led by CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal. The members of the delegation are Chakra Prasad Bastola of Nepali Congress, Dinanath Sharma of CPN (Maoist), Prakash Man Singh of NC-Democratic, Hridayesh Tripathi of Nepal Sadvawana Party (Anandidevi), Nawaraj Subedi of CPN (Unified) and CP Mainali of United Left Front.

Inaugurating the meeting, Speaker of Loksabha, the lower house of Indian Parliament, Somnath Chatterjee said it was widely acknowledged that the 21st century belongs to Asia and it would be an Asian century. If that were so, it falls upon the people, governments, parliamentarians, the media and the civil society groups of the South Asia region to help shape the Asian century. Leader of the Nepali delegation, UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal said a confidence building process has to be intensified at first, by making South Asian parliament as the sole agenda.

“In Nepal we have decided to introduce a federal system of governance and are also determined to abolish monarchy,” he said.

Various working papers on mutual cooperation, mutual relations and South Asian parliament, human security, conflict resolution and collaborative security will be presented and discussed at the meeting, organisers said.