Sunday, November 30, 2014

18th SAARC Summit: Was it really a Flop Show?

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The 18th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) concluded in Nepal's Capital Kathmandu with high expectation but less outcome. Though the three agenda namely energy, rail and road got more highlights in the 2014 summit held after three years but only energy agreement has been signed up after Pakistan, the second largest member country in SAARC opposed, citing of its internal issues which made the inter-connectivity between SAARC countries indefinite.

The energy agreement has laid background to share electricity among the member nations through a common grid which seems to be helpful to Nepal in paving way for the electrical energy development which is facing half-a-day load shedding in winter.

The recent SAARC Summit had much more expectation not only because of participation of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but also of the growing relation between the 8 Asian countries which turned out to be a "Flop Show" with happy ending of handshaking of PM of India and Pakistan in City Hall in the capital.

On the other hand, Nepal seems to be proud for hosting the mega meeting successfully with well decorated $20 Million facelift of Kathmandu and without any unexpected circumstances during the meetup. Also, Indian PM handed over a helicopter and inaugurated Trauma Center whose construction was completed years ago with Indian Government's financial assistance apart from the soil testing mobile van.

With member nations Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and recently added Afghanistan, SAARC is dominated by rivalry between Pakistan and India which split over in the 18th edition of the meeting. The issue of adding permanent members in the club remained silent with none of member heads got straight on the issue though Nepal's Prime Minister Sushil Koirala was expected to take lead of bringing China inside which currently is the observer and had shown interest over the subject promising  $30 Billion investment in infrastructure development and 10,000 scholarships for young South Asians.

The meeting themed “Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity” held on 26-27 November made no major breakthroughs with no concrete decision relating to terrorism, health, poverty and economy. Even the medias gave much highlights to the meet between heads of India and Pakistan who could not have concrete talks on any important case. SAARC has been on controversy since 30 years for not being an effective club rather than the occasional meetups for mingling with each other which repeated this time too with lack of trust among the member nations.

The remaining two issues related to road and rail are scheduled to be discussed on foreign ministers meeting which will be held six month later whereas the next 19th meetup is set to be held in Pakistan in 2019. So, don't you think the 18th SAARC Summit was a "Flop Show"?

Written By Raju Dawadi
Raju is a Computer Engineering student in Nepal, tech and social media enthusiast, web developer, blogger experimenting with SEO and web analytics.

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