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०२ आइतबार, बैशाख २०८१4th April 2024, 11:53:07 am

India killed SAARC!

१९ शनिबार , फाल्गुण २०८०एक महिना अगाडि

 India killed SAARC!

Urgent Need to revitalize SAARC - -When launched on 8th December 1985 in Bangladesh by seven South Asian Nations— Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, - SAARC’s objectives were friendship, mutual respect, cooperation, goodwill, understanding, developing a partnership for mutual benefits and commitment to the principles and purposes of non-alignment foreign policy. Afghanistan joined SAARC as its 8th member in 2007.
SAARC is a regional organization of countries in South Asia, which aims to accelerate the process of economic and social development in its member states through increased intra-regional cooperation. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia.
In the beginning, it was hoped that the Dhaka Summit would inaugurate a new era of cooperation leading to peace, prosperity, and stability for the well-being of the people in the SAARC region. SAARC was successfully marching ahead day by day in achieving its goal in the region and moving forward with better decisions, programs of action, and declarations, as we witnessed in the 18th SAARC Summit in November 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal where some important decisions were taken, in particular cooperation in the energy sector in the region. It was also announced at the Kathmandu Summit that Pakistan would host the 19th Summit in November 2016. However, it has not materialized due to the bilateral tensions of the two influential members of SAARC- India and Pakistan. However, Pakistan expressed its readiness to host the 19th SAARC Summit and had completed excellent preparations.

SAARC Summits 
      Location    Date of Summit
1    Dhaka        7-8 December,     1985
2    Bangalore        16-17 November,1986
3    Kathmandu        2-4 November,     1987
4    Islamabad        2-31 December,    1988
5    Male’        21-23 November,1990
6    Colombo        21 December    1991
7    Dhaka        10-11 April,     1993
8    New Delhi        2-4 May,         1995
9    Male’        12-14 May,     1997
10    Colombo        29-31 July,     1998
11    Kathmandu        4-6 January,     2002
12    Islamabad        2-6 January,     2004
13    Dhaka        12-13 November,2005
14    New Delhi        3-4 April,     2007
15    Colombo        1-3 August,    2008
16    Thimphu        28-29 April,     2010
17    Addu (Maldives)10-11 November,2011
18    Kathmandu        26-27 November,2014
19.  Islamabad        ???

Now, it is high time that India and Pakistan put their differences aside and work towards achieving the objectives of SAARC for the well-being of the people of their own region. Everyone has reached a consensus that SAARC should be revitalized in the interest of regional peace, prosperity, development, and progress and for the upliftment of the people’s living standards in the region!
Then who is creating obstacles? I am wondering! Already 38 years passed. Why every nation is keeping quiet? Why people’s money is being used unnecessarily in the name of the SARRC Headquarters or Secretariat without doing any work? It was said that the meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, are twice annually, but what happened during nearly four decades of its existence? It is the responsibility of every eminent person in this region, who values peace, understanding, cooperation, justice, and progress, to highlight the issue and say - that SAARC cannot be allowed to remain in an uncertain state like a comma. It can’t be neglected anymore!
Nepal, being in the position of current Chair, without delay, should play a vital role in collecting the consensus to revive and resume the Summit through dialogue and consultations with other members of the SAARC and march ahead to achieve its final goal. 
The term ‘cooperation’ in South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is entirely based on the respect of the five principles —sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of the member states, and mutual benefit. However, today, everyone knows that it is failing. What went wrong with SAARC while similar regional formations such as the EU, BIMSTEC, and ASEAN are successful elsewhere seems very important to understand. Some SAARC member countries have continued to work on regional cooperation through other initiatives and forums such as BIMSTEC. But what we need to understand is that SAARC is not formed just because of geographical nearness and shared cultures; the region also has common aspirations and joint challenges to face for ensuring a secure and quality life and then seeking the rightful place for one-fifth of humanity in the contemporary world.
The failures of the individual leaders of a member state should not be taken as the complete failures of the body of SAARC. No country, bigger or smaller, can achieve solid success in this interconnected world as the country’s geo-economic prospects are influenced by regional dynamics and spatial considerations.
The SAARC countries need stronger institutions and legal frameworks to ensure that government actions are open to public inspection. SAARC is technically still alive, but it has been largely inactive and facing multiple challenges. It is uncertain if the organization will be able to overcome these challenges and revive its role as a regional forum in the future. As the current chair of SAARC, Nepal bears the responsibility of determining how to revitalize the organization.
Nepal should at first win the confidence of its immediate neighbor, India because the future of SAARC depends on India being the biggest state among others in the economy, population, resources, and everything. There is a big gap between India and other member states of the region. This is a challenge to other members of the SAARC. If the Chair of the SAARC wants to see the bright future of SAARC, it must, at first, play a vital role in sorting out the conflict between India and Pakistan. Other conflicts such as the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the Tamil issue in Sri Lanka, the deteriorating economic crisis of Sri Lanka, and increasing problems with the Maldives are not major things since they are internal matters of the concerned states and also bilateral issues are not supposed to be discussed in the SAARC forum.
As we see, India wants to develop BIMSTEC without taking Pakistan as its member. It shows the hegemonistic attitude of India towards its neighbor countries. The Chair of the SAARC should be ready to use even ping-pong diplomacy to make alive the SAARC. We see the high-level diplomat from Bangladesh as Secretary-General of SAARC, but no effective movement from the high-level diplomat too.

No country in the world cannot be a permanent enemy of another country. India and Pakistan should make their vision clear and broad to be a trusted friend to each other. In the context of the newly elected government in Pakistan, it should also extend its hands to win the confidence and establish friendship with India. But India has a greater responsibility in it. India is a rising superpower in the region as it claims. So, if the surrounding countries of India are not friendly to India and if India cannot win the trust of other countries in the region, it cannot be a superpower mentally!
In another hand, India itself is blaming Pakistan as a terrorist state. Again, 370 articles, a constitutional provision of the Indian constitution to establish a temporary line between IIOJK and the rest of India, abrogated on the 5th of August,2019, and captured Kashmir, which is a clear violation of international laws, particularly United Nations Security Council resolution 122 of 1957. Apart from UNCIP resolutions of August 13, 1948, and January 05, 1949, two UNSC resolutions— number 91 of March 30, 1951, and number 122 of January 24, 1957 – clearly state that neither legislative assemblies nor the occupying state (India) can change the status of the Jammu and Kashmir. Whatever, India is blaming on Pakistan is directed towards India as it seems. Hegemonism and Encroachment Nature are self-killing activities, no state of the world should even dream! 
Afghanistan, being a member of SAARC, recommenced by India, should introduce entire human rights to its citizens as demanded by the world to win the trust of the countries of the region and the world at large and should play a vital role in revitalizing SAARC.
Finally, again India should widen its chest and extend its friendly hands to its neighboring countries to revitalize the SAARC. Living always in war is not going to help any nation! Peaceful friendly table talks are the best ways to settle any disputes and live together peacefully and happily building the SAARC into a strong and prosperous region!

P.R. Pant, journalist