SAARC and India

SAARC and India

This article deals with ‘SAARC and India Relations- UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

SAARC and India

Timeline

1980 The idea of regional political and economical cooperation in South Asia was first raised in 1980
8 Dec 1985 first summit was held in Dhaka
Last Summit Kathmandu (Nepal) – 18th Summit in 2014

Objectives

  • Promote welfare economics
  • Collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia
  • Accelerate socio-cultural development in the region.

Importance

  • House 21 per cent of the global population.
  • South Asian nations together also make an integrated “condominium” of common rivers, a mountain system, an ocean and a conjoint ecological system

Indian importance in it

  • 5 of them have common borders with India but not each other
  • constitutes 70 per cent or more of SAARC’s area and population.

Limitations

  • India constitutes 70 per cent or more of SAARC’s area and population, and has political conflicts with all her neighbours. Hence, India have the special responsibility to go the extra mile to make SAARC work
  • Yet to develop into a conflict-mediating or conflict-resolving institution both on multilateral and bilateral issues.
  • Organisation of countries not of equal stature-economically, geographically & politically
  • Chinese increasing influence on SAARC nations like SL,NEPAL

Critical evaluation:

It was formed to promote regional development and improve ties among nations . But SAARC has not been able to generate the benefits of cooperation :

Political reasons Boundary dispute between India and Pakistan has overshadowed functioning of SAARC  
Economic reasons GDP of SAARC nations except India is small , hampering the effective economic relations among them
– Other nations fear , Competition would lead to injury to the industry of other members  
Historical reasons In past , different nations have fought wars and past differences hamper cooperation in present times  
Geographical reasons – Poor infrastructure
– Economic Connectivity is low due to poor road transport 

CHINA  factor in SAARC

  • Holds an observer status in the group
  • All SAARC Nations except India and Bhutan are part of OBOR 
  • Pakistan, China’s all weather friend, also  demanded a more participatory role for China
  • Write about projects of China in OBOR nations

But

  • China is Constructing dam on the Brahmaputra without taking Indian and Bangladeshi concerns onboard.
  • Behaviour of China in other engagements is not so pleasant.  For instance it almost shook ASEAN by bringing in Cambodia  which did not even make a final statement now a days.

Indian Initiatives for SAARC

  • Satellite (SAARC satellite)
  • SAARC Disaster Management Centre in New Delhi
  • Immediate medical visa for entire region. Both for patient and one attendant.
  • E-connectivity – online courses and E-libraries

Alternatives of SAARC

  • SAARC is not going anywhere. All decisions in SAARC is taken by consensus and Pakistan blocks all the initiatives taken by India. Hence, Indian Policymakers have started to look for alternatives that excludes Pakistan .
  • Alternatives are suggested for SAARC and most important among them is BIMSTEC

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