FUTURE OF SAARC
THE vast South Asia subcontinent was split into two nations in 1947 when India and Pakistan came into existence because of their irreconcilably divergent religions, political perceptions and ethnic cleavages. It became impossible to make the Hindus and Muslims live under any single arrangement. They could not get along side by side any more. The other States which became independent were Sri Lanka (1948), the Maldives (1996) and Bangladesh 1971, whose story of creation is somewhat different. Nepal and Bhutan are other two small sovereign States who matter much in the South Asian affairs. All these States have relations with each other, good or bad, but they have been able to erect a common platform in the name of SAARC to promote bilateral relations and eradicate some of the common problems being faced by them. In the 80s, urgency of a social uplift attracted their attention and they felt the need to converge on a platform for economic development in the South Asian region. On the pattern of ASEAN, they formed an association called South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, in 1985.
In the last ten years, besides summit-level meetings, frequent Ministerial and Secretary-level meetings, workshops and seminars including training programmes have been organised in the name of the organisation to find out ways and means to eradicate poverty and deprivation existing in the region. But so far they have not been able to find any concrete solution owing to a number of problems. In this context, one of the greatest obstacles is the hegemonic attitude of the powerful member, India whose indifference on several occasions has foiled all efforts for achieving a suitable solution to certain thorny problems. In spite of seriousness of certain intra-regional bilateral disputes and differences, concerted efforts are being made by the Member States to achieve meaningful results in certain fields. With its secretariat at Kathmandu, the Association has made...
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