Energising SAARC: Options for Pakistan



South Asia has a chequered history, as it has confronted great crisis and problem, such as poverty, bad governance, corruption, illiteracy and terrorism. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established in 1985, in Bangladesh, with the objective to promote economic development and prosperity of the South Asian people. It is not considered as a successful organisation due to the authoritative role of India and apprehensive behaviour of small states. The member countries are not ready to accept the superiority of India as it never agreed on negotiating on an equal basis with its neighbours. The recent example is the cancellation of the 19th SAARC summit. India pulled out of the summit, which was to be held in Islamabad in November 2016. Cancellation of this summit is a bad omen for the entire region and particularly for Pakistan. This paper is aimed to highlight the different aspects of strategic and economic cooperation that can be useful for energising SAARC. In the backdrop of recent events in the region, when India’s hegemony is increasing and Pakistan’s economic standing has improved substantially, it is imperative that this platform should be utilised to bring these countries closer. In this age of regional connectivity and harmonious economic growth, the SAARC nations should use this forum to forge long-lasting ties and for the peace and stability of the entire region.

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