Saarc Summit is not just about hectic bilateral meetings for the heads of state and governments, but also a time out for the visiting dignitaries to enjoy the beauty, culture and cuisines of the host nation. While some leaders, including Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, have already visited various religious shrines and historical sites of Nepal on their own, the Nepal government has also planned a retreat programme for the visiting Saarc leaders on Thursday, the last day of the summit.
The leaders from all eight Saarc member states and other dignitaries will visit to Dhulikhel in Kavre district, 20 km east from Kathmandu , for the planned retreat, which will be a change of scenery from the frenzied environment of the summit held indoors.
Retreat is a unique tradition of Saarc Summit where leaders hold private, unofficial bilateral and multilateral talks in a relaxed atmosphere. Saarc retreats are ideally organised outside the summit venue in resorts and hotels where the leaders can relax and discuss the bilateral and multilateral agendas. If there are any unresolved issues among the leaders during the summit, retreat programmes could help quell disagreements.
The premiers from eight Saarc nations, their families, and foreign ministers will leave for Dhulikhel on Thursday morning. They will stay at the Dwarika’s Dhulikhel Resort where they will discuss Saarc agendas as well as bilateral issues in an informal setting over breakfast and lunch.
First ladies to tour Bhaktapur today
The first ladies from the Saarc member nations, along with other dignitaries, are scheduled to take a tour of Bhaktapur on Thursday.
Nepali Congress leader Sujata Koirala will be accompanying the guests during the tour.
Besides the guided tour, the guests will also be entertained with cultural shows, traditional Newari music, and a street photo exhibition, said Gautam Lasiwa, the head of Bhaktapur Tourism Development Committee. They will also attend a handicraft exhibition organised by the Bhaktapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry.