NEW DELHI, November 25 (Sputnik) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ahead of his departure to Kathmandu for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit Tuesday that close relations with neighboring countries is a key priority of the Indian government.
"Development of close relations with our neighbors is a key priority for my government," Modi said in a statement before his departure for the summit.
"India has always emphasized the importance of greater regional integration at all levels for the socio-economic development of the South Asian region. We have undertaken several initiatives in this regard on bilateral, sub-regional and regional basis," Modi said.
The upcoming SAARC summit, Deeper Regional Integration for Peace and Prosperity, has on its agenda the improvement of regional connectivity through railway and road networks.
"We hope that the summit will lead to concrete outcomes, particularly in regard to various initiatives on enhancing connectivity that have been under discussion for a long time" the prime minister added.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is already in Kathmandu. Addressing the SAARC foreign ministers meeting, she called for a "collective response" from the association to deal with the threat of terrorism in the region.
The 18th SAARC summit will be held in Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital, on November 26–27.
SAARC is an economic and political organization of eight countries: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and Bangladesh.