The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, SAARC, was founded in 1985. Nepal proposed the formation of a SAARC Police to deal with pressing issues such as terrorism, drugs and narcotics and other illegal activities, however, India rejected the SAARC Police proposal. Many experts believe that the summit has never been able to reach its full potential, and the underlying currents between the nations are the reason for it.
As stated by an official from Nepal, India has rejected the proposal and asked for further ‘deliberation’ on the matter with other members. The official pointed that India was concerned about the current unfavourable conditions, thus rejected the proposal.
Has the India-Pakistan rivalry sabotaged the SAARC Summit?
The 19th summit, which was to be held in Pakistan in 2016, has been cancelled after India and few other nations boycotted the summit, because of Pakistan’s involvement with terrorism. The Summit has since been in a limbo; experts believe that the India-Pakistan rivalry is the main cause for the decline of the proposal by Nepal. Under the process, even if one member opposes a certain proposal, it is put off the table.
Is the SAARC Irrelevant?
Although the inception of SAARC was built upon a strong foundation of regional cooperation, it has never been able to achieve full potential. Regional conflicts have strained the essence of SAARC and it seems that the scheduled 2018 summit may also be disrupted. PM Modi recently made some remarks at a meeting with the PM of Nepal where he mentioned that India may ‘pull away’ from the 2018 summit.
Although India states that issues like cross-border terrorism have made such an event unfavourable at the time, experts believe that the severed India-Pakistan relations are the main reason behind SAARC becoming irrelevant. The last summit was held in 2014.
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