From: Press Information Bureau Ministry of I&B <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
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Text of Opening Remarks of Union Home Minister at SAARC
Interior/Home Ministers Meeting
New Delhi: June 28, 2010
Following is the text of the opening remarks of the Union Home Minister, Shri P.Chidambaram at the third SAARC Interior/Home Ministers meeting held in Islamabad on June 26, 2010.
"His Excellency the Interior Minister of Pakistan
Their Excellencies Interior/Home Ministers of SAARC Member States
His Excellency the Secretary General of SAARC
It is a pleasure for me to attend the Third Meeting of SAARC Interior/Home Ministers. I wish to express, at the outset, our appreciation to the Government of Pakistan for the warm hospitality extended to participants at this meeting. I also wish to congratulate His Excellency Mr. Rehman Malik, Interior Minister of Pakistan for his election as Chairperson of the Meeting.
At the recently concluded 16th Summit in Thimphu, Heads of State and Government expressed satisfaction that SAARC had achieved a number of important milestones with the completion of twenty five years of its establishment. They underscored the relevance and importance of the Association in providing a platform for regional cooperation to accomplish the Charter objectives.
As members of SAARC, we can be justifiably proud of the progress the Association has achieved in the last 25 years. In the past few years, in particular, SAARC has created the building blocks of regional development in the form of the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) in Thimphu, the SAARC Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO) in Dhaka, the SAARC Arbitration Council in Islamabad, the South Asian University (SAU) in New Delhi and the SAARC Food Bank, among others.
We still, however, have a long way to go. As the Prime Minister of India pointed out at the 16th SAARC Summit, although South Asia had recorded growth by way of trade, transport and telecommunications links, this was far below the growth rates achieved among nations of similar associations in East and South-East Asia and certainly below the potential of South Asia. The Prime Minister had urged, in this context, greater regional cooperation through the freer movement of people, goods, services and ideas.
As Ministers of Interior/Home Affairs, we have a major responsibility in ensuring that regional cooperation in meeting the challenges posed by terrorism, arms smuggling, fake currency, drug and human trafficking, would create an environment conducive to greater connectivity, accelerated progress and development in the region. I note with satisfaction that the Chair, His Excellency Mr Rehman Malik, devoted a considerable part of his opening remarks to the subject of terrorism and especially to the fall out of the 9/11 attack in New York and the 26/11 attack in Mumbai.
We can all undoubtedly agree that the South Asian region is faced with a serious security situation. The increasing threat of terrorism poses a major challenge to the maintenance of peace and security and adversely affects economic development in our region. The Thimphu Declaration, adopted at the 16th SAARC Summit, emphasized the need to strengthen regional cooperation to fight terrorism and transnational organized crimes and the importance of a coordinated and concerted response to combat terrorism.
It is only with the fullest cooperation among our countries that we will be in a position to effectively tackle the grave threat of terrorism in our region. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the instruments and resources at our disposal are put to the best possible use in our fight against terrorism. We need to examine whether the existing conventions at our disposal have been effective and, if not, we need to understand why. We also need to cooperate with each other in sharing information on potential terrorists and planned acts of terrorism, and all other forms of criminal activity, in order to create a more secure environment.
The 16th SAARC Summit underscored the importance of the SAARC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters signed during the 15th Summit in August 2008, and called for its ratification. At the same time, it recommended that pending completion of the ratification process of the Agreements signed during the 14th and 15th Summits, and given the urgency to advance regional cooperation in these areas, the provisions of these Agreements may be operationalized while the work to complete the due legal process may continue. I would urge this meeting to begin the implementation of this important regional Convention even while it awaits ratification by all Member States. The Convention will facilitate evidence sharing among Member States and the seizure and confiscation of funds meant for criminal and terrorist activities. Its implementation will not only contribute to the creation of a more secure environment in the region, it would also represent a concrete manifestation of the region's determination to address the common and pressing security concerns before it.
The 16th Summit recognized the value of the proposed UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and called for its early conclusion. I would urge all Member States to work together to implement this directive by our Heads of State and Government to ensure the early conclusion of the Convention on International Terrorism.
My delegation notes with great satisfaction the Islamabad SAARC Ministerial Statement on Cooperation Against Terrorism. I wish to congratulate the delegations that put their heads together to draft this very important statement against terrorism.
I take this opportunity to announce that as a follow-up of the decision taken at the 16th Summit, India will be pleased to host a meeting of the High Level Group of Eminent Experts to Strengthen SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism as recommended in the SAARC Ministerial Declaration on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism. We propose to hold this meeting in New Delhi in January 2011. I do hope this receives your endorsement.
In a significant gesture reflective of the solidarity in our regional fight against terrorism, the SAARC Council of Ministers at its 32nd session preceding the Thimphu Summit, decided to observe the 2nd of October every year as the 'SAARC Day of Non-Violence'. The Council also welcomed the decision of the Standing Committee to develop a symbol representing the unity among the Member States in their fight against terrorism. I call upon the Secretary General of SAARC to facilitate implementation of these decisions with the fullest support of the Member States.
India is committed to discharging its responsibilities within SAARC in a non-reciprocal manner. Since the 14th Summit held in New Delhi in April 2007, more than thirty training programmes have been offered by India to SAARC Member States in the areas of criminal investigation, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, cyber crime, economic offences and bank fraud cases. It is our intention to continue to offer such programmes in the future.
I have no doubt that cooperative action among Member States, in all areas of common interest and concern, will be critical in supporting our individual and collective actions intended to provide a more secure and peaceful environment to the people of our countries and the region.
I thank you for your support".
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
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Institute of Company Secretaries of India
Enters Into a Memorandum of Understanding With
The Central Board of Excise and Customs
New Delhi: June 28, 2010
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). This would enable Company Secretaries in practice to set up Certified Facilitation Centres (CFCs) under the Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax (ACES) Project which will facilitate e-filing of returns and other documents by assessees of Central Excise and Service Tax.
A Certified Facilitation Centre (CFC) is a facility, other than the physical front offices or Facilitation Centres of CBEC, which may be set-up and operated by a practicing Company Secretary (PCS) to whom a certificate is issued under the ACES project, where the assessees of Central Excise and Service Tax can avail the facility to file their returns and other documents electronically along with associated facilitation on payment of specified fees.