18th SAARC summit concludes today : President in discussion with a number of heads of states


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President Mahinda Rajapaksa called on all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries to join forces against external threats.

He made these remarks while addressing the inaugural session of the 18th SAARC Summit yesterday in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The Summit this year is taking place under the theme of "Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity and will conclude today.

The President spoke of the need for SAARC, which having evolved in structure, form and content, through almost three decades, is at a crucial juncture, to shift from the present traditional approach and move towards implementing a result-oriented, actionable plans, which impact directly on the lives of the region's peoples.

Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi  during which Modi  thanked the President for pardoning and sending back five Indian fishermen, who were sentenced to death for alleged drug trafficking.

During the meeting, which lasted for nearly 30 minutes, the two leaders discussed important bilateral and regional issues.

This is the third meeting between the two leaders since Modi took over as Prime Minister in May.

President also held discussions with leaders of Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives and Bangladesh.

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