"Many challenges of South Asia can be addressed through "SAARC-minus-one". Discuss.|

Published: September 7, 2017

SAARC was established with objectives of the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to provide a boost to economic growth. However, the prime challenge for SAARC and South Asia is economic and security cooperation for regional prosperity. One of the major reason for the slow progress of SAARC is Pakistan attitude of stalling the process of economic integration. Pakistan decision to not to support SAARC motor vehicles agreement reflects its intentions.
So In order to speed up the integration process idea of SAARC without Pakistan i.e SAARC minus one is being considered.
This will not only send a tough message to Pakistan that its continued support to terror groups may result in Pakistan’s isolation in the South Asian region. It will also help in forging economic relations among South Asia in general and SAARC in particular. The projects which are stalled because of Pakistan can also see the light of the day.
However, the problem is that despite isolation, Pakistan will receive support from outside SAARC nations, specifically from China, So the isolation is not a pragmatic solution because such a view don’t consider of history and geography. Without Pakistan’s role, the multiple challenges faced by SAARC countries can’t be satisfactorily addressed. Pakistan’s location is vital between South Asia and Central Asia & key to infrastructure as well as inter-regional trade and commerce. Pakistan role is also vital for Afghanistan’s stability.
So it will be very difficult to address the regional challenges without active cooperation from Pakistan. The need of the hour is to put international pressure on Pakistan to not to support terror groups and engage with Pakistan on various platforms.

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