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First SAARC car rally flagged off

The first ever SAARC car rally was flagged off Thursday by Bangladesh's Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed from Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh.The first cross-border caravan aimed at forging closer ties among the South Asian nations-would take a break in New Delhi during the 14th SAARC summit next month. The rally also marks the end of Bangladesh's tenure as the SAARC chair that will now move to India.Ahmed spoke of closer cultural ties, tourism and more of sports activities and youth development of the region, Star Online said.He also put emphasis on upholding the South Asian identity as part of the larger international community."The SAARC promoted people to people contacts, by facilitating travels between the countries of the region," the chief adviser said. "Other initiatives by SAARC included youth exchanges in culture and sports fostering linkages between professional bodies."Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had mooted the idea of a car rally during the last summit in Bangladesh.Thirty Tata Safari vehicles, carrying about 120 participants of the SAARC countries would travel through more than 8,000 km across varying terrains of India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 30 days.It is scheduled to conclude on April 14 in Male, the capital of the Maldives.The convoy is expected to stay in New Delhi on April 3 when SAARC leaders will assemble in the Indian capital Delhi for the 14th summit of the forum.Tata Motors is the vehicle sponsors for the event. The India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) is also supporting it, besdes Indian public-sector oil-marketing companies.
--- IANSSource: New Kerela
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