Free Essay



Submitted By meci
Words 14467
Pages 58
SAARC Ministerial Declaration on
Cooperation in Combating Terrorism


We, the Foreign Ministers of Member States of SAARC, are deeply concerned about the continuing scourge of terrorism afflicting the region which has caused extensive social disharmony, loss of human life, destruction and damage to property.

Terrorism poses a serious threat to peace and cooperation, and friendly and good neighbourly relations. It jeopardises the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of States, while constituting a serious violation of fundamental human rights.

We renew our commitment to strengthening comprehensive region-wide cooperation among SAARC Member States to combat and eliminate all forms and manifestations of terrorism and in this context affirm the need to reinforce further the regional legal regime and instituting pragmatic cooperation to address this issue effectively.

We also recognise that our cooperation shall proceed on the basis of sovereign equality, mutual respect and the principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of Member States consistent with the SAARC Charter.

As we meet in Colombo, at the Thirty-first Session of the Council of Ministers, we solemnly declare and agree to undertake the following measures of cooperation:

1. We reiterate our commitment to implement measures against organising, instigating, facilitating, financing, fund raising, encouraging, tolerating and providing training for or otherwise supporting terrorist activities. We will take appropriate practical measures, administrative and legal, to ensure that our respective territories are not used for terrorist installations or training camps, or for the preparation or organisation of terrorist acts intended to be committed against other States or their citizens.

2. We are committed to ensure the apprehension and prosecution or extradition of persons connected, directly or indirectly, with the commission of terrorist acts, subject to the provisions of our national laws and our international commitments towards this end, to extend cooperation, inter-alia, through rendering mutual legal assistance.

3. We resolve to ensure that our nationals or other persons and entities within our territories that commit or attempt to commit, facilitate or participate in the commission of terrorist acts are appropriately punished.

4. We support the promotion of cooperation and exchange of information, consistent with our respective domestic legal and administrative regimes, improve immigration and customs control measures to detect and prevent the international movement of terrorists and their accomplices, and trafficking in arms, narcotics and psychotropic substances or other materials, intended to support terrorism. And in this context, we agree to consider the development of an integrated border management mechanism.

5. We reiterate our commitment to take steps, to share expertise and information about terrorists, their movements, their support facilities and their weapons, bearing in mind in particular, the threats posed to maritime and coastal security and to share information regarding the investigation and prosecution of terrorist acts.

6. We shall contribute to the efforts in the UN General Assembly for the early adoption of the UN draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

7. We agree to urgently ratify and effectively implement the SAARC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, signed at the Fifteenth SAARC Summit in Colombo.

8. We reiterate our commitment to strengthening the SAARC and the global regime against terrorism and decide to establish a High-Level Group of Eminent Experts to review and make proposals to further strengthen SAARC anti-terrorism mechanisms, including for pragmatic cooperation.


Regional seminar on Comprehensive Security in South Asia
|Regional Security Stifled by Insecurity |

Organised by Institute for Foreign Affairs (IFA)
19-20 November 2004
A regional meeting on Comprehensive Security in South Asia was organized by the Institute for Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), in Kathmandu on 19 November, 2004, to discuss contemporary security issues. Twelve experts from South Asia made their presentations on various aspects of comprehensive security in the two day four sessions seminar.
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had been invited as the chief guest at the inaugural of the seminar where he highlighted different aspects of comprehensive security. But the Prime Minister tried to draw the attention of the participants that aspect of security that was concerning many nations today, not only in South Asia, but the whole world-terrorism. The notion of traditional or military security, that the Prime Minister pointed out was enthusiastically taken up by participants during the regular working sessions later on.
Chairing the inaugural session was Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat. In his speech, he listed the achievements being made by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation on security matters. He also promised that the relevant concerns raised during the working sessions of this Track II discussion would be taken up at the Track I level during the upcoming Dhaka summit.
Dev Raj Dahal, the FES head of Nepal office, said that the traditional notions of security that theoreticians had forwarded in the past was being expanded to include more immediate concerns of the people these days. For this, though, he said, the state needs to be made more capable of dealing with contemporary issues.
In the first working session, presentations were made by Farooq Sobhan of Bangladesh, Prof M.P. Lohani of Nepal and Ghani Jaffar of Pakistan. Sobhan's paper discussed the external relations of SAARC countries and explored the possibility of having a collective South Asian policy to respond to global issues. Some of the pre-requisites he sees are: human development in South Asia and need to involve major partners of the region like Japan, China and the US. His conclusion was that regional security was the key to human security in the region. He also said that a periodical report that assesses regional human security concerns, along the lines of the UN Human Development Report, could help in this regard.
The following are the excerpts of floor comments and queries made to him: • Intelligence sharing at the South Asian level can be pursued as one area of regional cooperation. • The papers lack the parameters defining the different aspects of comprehensive security. In South Asia, migration within the SAARC region has been occuring since history. Please include this as well. • The presentation did not dwell on the emergence of new leadership in India, its impact on Indo-Pak ties and its beneficial effect on the SAARC summit. • The academic exercises at the Track II level, which number over 1000, have now reached a stage that has resulted in three historical documents for the Track I process- the SAARC Charter, Plan of Action and Adoption which were signed at Islamabad. The academicians should now enthuse the concerned, like the paper writer emphasizes, to implement those documents. • Security has three aspects-national, regional and global. Sobhan should answer what measures can be taken to strengthen regional security? • We see the concept of security broadening to the community level from the national level. But who is the one responsible for providing that security? So far, we have had the state to do so. But, now, since it has moved beyond the reach of the states, who will take up the responsibility? • The paper is comprehensive and appropriate. It zeroes in on three issues- Sobhan's involvement in trying to devise a regional way to deal with the second Bush administration. Please share with us your experience. Let me tell you that if the US had not assisted in Nepal's security after 9/11, this seminar exercise might not have taken place at this moment in time. • Talking about comprehensive security is fine, but this should not undermine traditional military security, as it is the crux of security. • Sobhan says the change in United States foreign policy regarding India and Pakistan. These two friends of the US are not friends themselves. Would they be encouraged to fight each other again because of US military help or will it bring them together? Since the US will not pursue anything without any national interest benefit. With the growing US involvement in South, should we be apprehensive or hopeful? • The presentation talks about the need to expand Indian links with US to include other South Asian states as well. What would be the commonality of other South Asian states with the US to expand their ties? At least India has a diaspora and other issues that are directly connected with the US. • The paper tries to link economic prosperity with comprehensive security. I do agree that the military aspect should not be neglected, although other areas are also important. • Bush has been re-elected but the re-election of the new US Secretary of State has had many concerned about the US pursuing unilateralism even further. How do you think that the concept of comprehensive security works at a time when the US is pursuing more unilateralism? • Some of the proposals that the paper has put forward are good, but there is hardly any practical measures to achieve the tasks proposed. • The presentation appeared to be talking about combating terrorism. Combat is a military word which ultimately pushes one towards a military solution. • Will comprehensive security in South Asia be complete without incorporating Chinese security concerns?
Sobhan's reply
My paper leaves out some points deliberately as other papers will be taking them up. I do agree that military security is central to any discussion on comprehensive security. We need to discuss the military security in the regional context. The SAARC treaty on terrorism does envisage some form of cooperation through intelligence sharing. But we find that many states are unilaterally pursuing bilateral ties with the United States but that could be expanded to make it a regional one as well.
Regarding the new leadership in India, my discussion with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has shown me that he was strongly committed to strengthening regional cooperation and shares our concerns on comprehensive security. He understands that India cannot prosper on its own by leaving the rest of the region behind.
My proposals center around a scheme for a South Asian forum quite akin to the ASEAN forum. This need not be within the SAARC framework.
[The US has a one-dimensional focus on military security in South Asia but we need to engage it on comprehensive security. We need to make them understand that. Yesterday I gave the American ambassador in Nepal a report on what the US role should be on South Asia. About Condoleeza Rice, the new secretary of state, there seems to be a misperception as the US envoy in Nepal who worked under her says that she is very knowledgeable about South Asia.]
Such dialogue with the Americans can take place in that proposed forum. In fact, the Chinese security perception can also be looked into from this forum and dialogue initiated with that country from this forum.
Three concrete results came out of the Islamabad summit. But we need to come out with concrete steps in realizing them for them to be fruitful. We need to constantly interact with the governments as they are a very cautious lot. I can assure you that every point that has been taken up by Track I in SAARC, has come through at the Track II. We can now move to make the civil society and governments work with each other. The governments have seen that people go independently of the government wishes as is seen in cricket matches between India and Pakistan.
Prof. Lohani, for his part, talked about the problems afflicting comprehensive security in the region. Environmental degradation, religious fundamentalism, mass poverty, lack of good governance and terrorism, he said, are all contributing to tensions in the region. India-Pakistan nuclearization has made neighbouring states nervous, he said. He also talked about cross-border terrorism and the problems brought about the open border between Nepal and India making it difficult for mitigating measures to work. The professor stressed India's centrality in resolving most of the issues and concluded that state capacity needs to be strengthened, even though non-state actors have been contributing to boost comprehensive security.
His paper solicited the following comments: • India has deployed a strong border force on the Nepalese porous border, and Nepal has appreciated this gesture. Will this goodwill remain or will the Indian forces spill over into Nepal? • SAARC has not been able to work on a consensus definition of terrorism. If we go back to the UN definition, it clearly distinguishes between freedom fighters and terrorists. Secondly, terrorism has a money trail. Injustice and deprivation and social and economic inequalities can lead to terrorism. • You have missed out on how we can influence US policy. • Why have you not included the intentions of certain states of South Asia to meddle with smaller states like Nepal? Those intentions are already available hidden in their own archives.
Mohan Lohani's reply
Regarding US foreign policy in South Asia and how we can make it adopt the comprehensive security approach, rather than just the military approach, first of all, we need to agree within the region about what comprehensive security is. Too many ideas are floating regarding the term, and a regional consensus is necessary before we approach others on that.
On the border forces on the open border with India, let us hope that the Indian concern about the Maoist menace spilling over to their territory provides them the necessary goodwill towards us.
Pakistan's Ghani Jaffar, the next presenter, dwelt on India-Pakistan relations and noted the recent peace moves by both sides. His focus was, however, on the scuttled peace processes in the past and the role of domestic politics of India in that regard. He had his suspicions about the ongoing peace moves between the countries saying that the internal power structure in Delhi could do it again, in spite of political commitment to move ahead with peace measures.
Excerpts of the queries and concerns coming from the floor: • There is only casual reference to the India and Pakistan nuclear programmes in the presentation in spite of such a threat hanging over us. If there is an accident, the whole population is threatened. A close call in Dodhara in 1990 in India has already been witnessed. Nepal lies in the way of the radioactive wind if and when it does occur. Another is the post 9/11 scenario where non-state actors have developed the willingness to acquire nuclear materials. In Dhaka, several so-called nuclear terrorists had beenarrested- another close call. Both India and Pakistan have refused to sign the conventions necessary to stop proliferation. • Unless we incorporate a security agenda in the SAARC forum, how can we talk of the subject here?
Ghani Jaffar's reply
The nuclear non-proliferation conventions should have been adopted. Pakistan has been calling for a nuclear-free zone in South Asia. Nepal to has shown its commitment as it wanted to be declared a zone of peace. There should be mechanisms in place to prevent nuclear accidents.
Regarding China's inclusion, Pakistan has always called for Chinese involvement, but India sees it as a rival. What can one do?
The impatience about SAARC's non-inclusion of security issues, is not surprising. But look at ASEAN which took a long time to come where it is today. Let us give SAARC some time.
Madhukar Rana from the chair
Making comprehensive security too broad a concept, may not allow us to build a practical framework. Secondly, the position of national security against comprehensive and regional security needs to be tackled for a workable solution.
Somehow, the old issues have been clobbered into the new baskets of good governance and human security and the like.
Economic and political dimensions will have to be brought in as part and parcel of comprehensive security. Again, not just material progress but also values need to be preserved. This should also form part of the concept.
Comprehensive security is said to promote the concept of global governance. And, globalisation is taking both dimensions, not only prosperity but also diseases and terrorism have been growing globally. Even the UN is not ready to take up the new challenges emerging today.
The second working session was chaired by Ghani Jaffar and presentations were made by Jayaraj Acharya of Nepal, Pervez Iqbal Cheema, Prakash A. Raj and Jehan Perera. Acharya's paper on "Security and Governance in South Asia" traces the roots of insecurity lying in governance issues. He says that all the seven SAARC members suffer from these causes of insecurity. Insecurity breeds instability of governments and vice versa, he said. The only remedy to the situation, Acharya said, are visionary leaders who can lead like Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore and Mohammad Mahathir of Malaysia.
Excerpts from floor comments on Acharya's paper: • The paper identifies the main factors of good governance like leadership, but how are we going to have a good leadership? You focus on terminologies, but what would lead us to actually act? • The presenter dwelt on good governance but forgot to deal with the role of corruption in good governance. • Exploitation of resources is also a reason for violence. Also, how do we get rid of bad leaders?
Acharya's reply
The type of leadership depends on the civil society which has the power to ostracize bad leaders. Leaders are born. Even Prithvi Narayan Shah who was surrounded by illiterate people could unite this nation during precarious times.
Pervez Iqbal Cheema's presentation on "Religious Conflicts in South Asia and Impact on Security" centered around his thesis that there is no religious conflict in the world, just that religion has been used by political actors in conflicts. Religions can be used to escalating conflict, but that alone is not enough to generate conflict unless it is combined with other factors like economic deprivation. The ethnic or external factor or ideological factors can be combined with religion to make a potent mixture, he said.
Excerpts of the floor comments: • On the question of internationalization of the negotiations and peace process, the Bharatiya Janata Party government in India appeared to be more hands-off than others. Hence, is it not good for peace itself? • Elections in May 2004 in India showed that extremists of any hue can be removed from power. And, Cheema believes that conflicts cannot be resolved by military means alone. People got fed up with the emphasis on the Hindu aspect and voted the BJP out of power. • It is not religion by itself that is the cause for conflict, but politicians who want to use religion as a tool for conflict. • We talk of security in South Asia and then talk of globalization as if the two are isolated from each other. When 12 Nepalese were butchered in Iraq, this seminar was postponed because of the September riots in Nepal. We cannot talk about South Asian security in isolation. • Cheema should have divided the violence into those coming from long term and those from short term injustices.
Cheema's reply
Elections can remove a bad leader. I agree. I also happen to believe that Indo-Pakistan peace efforts this time is different because people feel it so.
Regarding, the concern about long-term and short term violence, when an extremist died in Pakistan some time ago, the followers were not allowed to hold a funeral and a riot erupted immediately. This is how violence can erupt instantaneously.
I agree that the impact of global and remote developments does take place on South Asia. The end of the Cold War did have an impact on us. I agree.
I also agree that religious sentiments are being abused.
The next presentation was on bilateral relations between Nepal and India by Prakash A. Raj where he listed the bilateral transactions between the two countries after the British left India. The uneasy ties between the two were highlighted by Raj, especially during those points in time where India did not see Nepal acting to accommodating its security concerns. According to him, this attitude is recently changing especially with the rise of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal and their misuse of the open border between the two countries. He forecasted that Nepal-China ties would grow in significance in the future, especially with China's linking of Tibet with the mainland with a railway and other development works there. But he also saw India playing a crucial role in exploiting economic resources through investments in Nepal.
Comments from the floor: • One important lesson of keeping the border between Nepal and India open is that India is in a dilemma. Strict border management will be detested, but today we know that it cannot be allowed to go on being open. Nepalese see that India provides shelter to the Maoists and the Indians have started taking action. A major lesson here is that none of us can afford to have bases against our neighbours. • Raj has waxed eloquent of Indian security concerns but does not mention Nepal's security concerns vis a vis India. While reviewing Nepal-India ties, he makes no mention of the Indian blockade on Nepal and also Nepal's zone of peace proposal, especially at a time when Nepal has been turned into the killing fields. What about our security concern- Maoists getting sanctuary in India, for example? Only recently have they started arresting Maoist leaders beginning with C.P. Gajurel in Chennai. • How does the author see Nepal and India coming together on the Maoist issue? Will they be more together than ever before? • Nepal has agreed to allow India to open a consulate in Birgunj, signed the Upper Karnali and Seti projects, the fiber-optic networks etc. These new developments need to be included in Raj's paper.
Prakash Raj's reply
The Nepal-India border is open in spite of the largest concentration of population in the border areas. The border on the Tibetan side is closed although it is sparsely populated. This is an anomaly. Nepal's south-western border sees a lot of Maoists crossing the border to and from Nepal.
I agree that Nepal's security concern and not been accommodated by India. If India had been more cooperative we could have resolved the Maoist problem much earlier.
The thesis that Nepal can be a bridge between India and China is agreeable too.
Raj's presentation was followed by another on bilateral ties. This time it was Jehan Perera on "Indo-Lanka Relations: Recent Trends". India has been playing different roles at different times in the Sri Lankan conflict, Perera said and explained, it first became the concerned neighbour, then a partisan actor, then a mediator, then an enforcer and now again a concerned neighbour. Indians have reasons to be concerned about their security as, strategically, Sri Lanka breaks its domination of the southern seas. Also, there are the ethnic ties with the Tamils. The Sinhalese see India as one who would not design a breakup of Sri Lanka. The Tamils see India as the last resort. Peace negotiators see India as a complicating factor, he said. He went on the describe these complex ties being manifest in the developments since the Tamil conflict began.
Excerpts of floor comments: • The Indo-Lanka free trade agreement can be taken as a good example of ties between the two countries. The gains could be a win-win for both. It has improved the bilateral balance of trade. • Regarding Sri Lanka, we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't. Pereara should take the domestic politics into account in his analysis. The Indian dynamics in the 70s should also have been included. India would be happy if a resolution includes Sri Lankan territorial integrity and federal autonomy. • If the Sri Lankans do not focus on resolution bilaterally with the Tamils and involve international parties instead, there could be international pressure on them. And, the government is more vulnerable to international pressure than the Tamils. • Is the Sri Lankan maneuver just tactical or strategic? • What is Perera's assessment on the neutrality of Norway in the peace process in Sri Lanka? • What is the Lankan assessment of the internationalization of the peace process and the ramifications of the involvement of various actors? • Can the present Lankan president contribute to reducing tensions in South Asia? • You say that the 1987 Sri Lankan peace accord has failed. I differ. All the presidents and prime ministers have been shuttling to Delhi to keep India posted on the peace process.
Jehan Perera's reply
The LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] is asking the government for a semi-independent state with nominal central government presence. Tamils would like to have their own army and all. But, India, or for that matter, the Sri Lankans, would have concerns about that. The concern is also that the LTTE should not be allowed to form a dictatorship. But the present government appears to have less concerns about these matters. This is what I meant by being hard-line. The former government wanted to welcome the international community as a safety net. This is not so with the present government. And India is happier for that.
Regarding the free trade agreement, there is another defence agreement attached with it. This is a matter of concern for Sri Lankans. Also, India has said it would help build the Sri Lankan airport, but on condition that Indian military planes be allowed to land there.
LTTE's disregard for international pressure is a myth. They are scared they will be banned in other countries.
A new Indo-Lanka initiative would depend on the Indian initiative.
Regarding Norway's neutrality, there have been concerns about their extra-sensitivity to LTTE concerns. But the present government thinks that Norway is still a viable mediator.
The new government is ideologically closer to India than the former government. But, still, foreign donors have offered a much bigger pie than the Indians. So no one can be discounted as yet.
The first session of the second day was chaired by CV Ranganathan of India. The paper by Suba Chandran "Intra-State Armed Conflicts in South Asia: Impact on Regional Security" was presented by Mallika Joseph in his absence. Her presentation dwelt on the contribution of various factors that affect their waxing and waning, e.g. external support, state response and also support from diaspora, she said. Other points of the presentation: Religion is entering into existing conflicts like the independence movement in Kashmir is turning into a jihad of the Muslims and the northeastern conflicts are joining links with fundamentalist organisations. Secondly, conflicts are getting more violent. Thirdly, they are getting prolonged which in turn means that public tolerance for violence is increasing. Fourth, terrorism is getting even nuclear, suicide attacks and newer forms of violence. External involvement does not work to resolve conflict e.g. in Sri Lanka where India burnt its fingers.
Comments on the presentation: • Democratic governance could remove many issues and help prevent conflicts. States can be strong but their delivery mechanism can be weak. Kashmir is an example. Marginalisation is working to create more conflicts today. Let domestic conflicts not turn into an international terrorist movement. • You said northeastern separatists have links with fundamentalist organisations. Which ones? • To what extent are external factors responsible in intra-state conflict-- in Kashmir or Sri Lanka or even the Maoist movement in Nepal? We have been dubbing all of them terrorists. It is difficult for the Nepalese to believe that Maoists were doing their activities in India without the notice of Indian security officials. • The political dimension is inalienable from armed conflicts. Nepalese PMs have met Maoist leaders in India. What does this mean politically? During major attacks by Maoists, some Nepalese political leaders have been out of the country. • Foreign invested media have been promoting conflict in Nepal. Such media are worse than the Maoists. Their bias has been creating conflicts. Fighting with muscles is one thing but here a war is taking place with ideas. • The paper talks about terrorism but is unable to provide the morals being adopted in those movements. What about recent trends like child soldiers? • The assertion of the author that external involvement will not resolve conflict is questionable.
Mallika Joseph's reply
The paper talks of Islamic fundamentalists linking up with northeastern movements.
External involvement in conflict has a kick-back effect on the external actor.
Regarding the abating of Nepalese Maoists in India, I think that the Indians did not act as the Maoists did not harm Indians. But Nepal too allows jihadis in its territory and the hijack took place.
This was followed by B.C. Upreti's presentation "Environment Security in South Asia: Dimensions Issues and Problems" where he focused on the general environmental degradation in the region. Resource depletion is creating crises in many countries, he said and added, human induced environmental degradation and the environmentally insensitive kind of development paradigms being followed are common to South Asian countries. Inter-state and intra-state conflicts can take place over the use of natural resources, he said. Upreti saw South Asia having regional environmental linkages making it susceptible to sharing the problems that arise in one part of the region- migration, refugees, floods and water scarcity and so on- with other parts. He added that mitigating measures need to be coordinated and over-enthusiastic response avoided.
Floor comments and queries: • The Chinese nuclear sites in the north and the Indian and Pakistani sites in the south makes Nepal vulnerable. We also talked of environmental security. My question is why have you not raised the issue of radioactivity in regional security. • The author should have studied the United Nations Environmental Programme study of 2002 and the magnificent disaster report published by the SAARC. You have not referred to the Indian environmental movements, the Nepal-India resource disputes etc.. Also you should have discussed the highland-lowland conflicts, particularly with water scarcity in mind. Also Nepal's forest cover is on the rise, not falling like you say. You talk of regional environmental security but what is wrong with Kyoto? • The author talked about the millennium development goals, but SAARC as a region is far behind on that. • Flood warning is a good area of cooperation.
BC Upreti's reply
The environmental movements are more of a pressure on the government rather than related with environmental security. Other issues like migration, refugees and floods are all contributory issues. I agree that Kyoto provides a good example, but I was talking about regionalizing the environmental concerns. We are more concerned with floods and like issues.
MR Josse's presentation dealt with "China in South Asia: An emerging Dynamic". China is interlinked with South Asia especially when we talk of environmental security and economic activities of natural resource exploitation, particularly the river basin concept of development, he said. His argument was that all major rivers of the region originate in China and that the country needed to be involved in the process. The South Asian sub-regional initiative could follow the Mekong river basin framework, which does include China in the partnership, he said. Trade too is an area where China with its huge market can play a positive role. Josse said that India needs to change its attitude that South Asia is completely isolated from China. China's role in the region needs to be acknowledged, he said.
Comments and queries from the floor: • China's own willingness or initiative to join a web of multilateral institution was not there in the sixties, in fact right up to the 90s. Mechanisms and dialogues must be put in place to get China join in. • We are happy that both India and China are marching ahead and will soon reach the pinnacle. The modernization movement in China made them a global power while we were involved in creating the SAARC. The Chinese had been watching us with interest since then. China's role in SAARC will be vital in the future. SAARC has already reached adulthood in its 20th year. Would not it be good to have China as a dialogue partner for SAARC, along with Japan, the US and other countries, quite akin to what ASEAN has? • China has already joined BIMST-EC and others, what kind of ties would you envisage for China? • The nuclear dimension makes the case of China in South Asia even stronger. • Regarding who should be in or out of SAARC. We had come to a conclusion at the time of its formation that a common civilization should be the determining factor. China has the potential in economic growth and we lie at the periphery. Nevertheless, we need a regional leader, like India, but the Pannikar doctrine will not do. May be Gujral doctrine or some other would be better. For regional cooperation, India can begin by opening 2-3 per cent of its GDP for regional trade and make its currency the common currency. • What is holding China from joining SAARC? • The author talks about reluctance of bringing in China even for water resource sharing. But China thinks that Tibet is sparsely populated and water resource is expensive to exploit. They are more concerned about environmental degradation there. With India, the Koshi project was aimed at controlling floods in Bihar but with little benefit for Nepal. Regional cooperation could include the environmental component. • The recent entry of China into ESCAP has made it change its name. • What role does China's have in Kashmir? Especially because China is directly linked with its border with Kashmir? • Bill Clinton had asked China to play a role in defusing India-China tension in the past. • Do you want China to be engaged at the bilateral level or the multilateral level?
MR Josse's reply
Nepal has no problems with China's linkages with SAARC. My understanding is that all SAARC countries would welcome China as a dialogue partner. The possible objection is likely to come from India. Still, the foreign ministers meeting in July was told to work on a concept paper on China as a dialogue partner of SAARC. The paper is to be presented in Dhaka during the 13th summit. India might go along then as well.
India is reluctant to go along with King Birendra's visionary Colombo plan outline, regarding regional efforts to exploit natural resources like the rivers. I say this because this does not figure in the SAARC anywhere.
Chairman's comment: Is Nepal prepared for huge inundations? Is Tibet prepared? Let us become less emotional. I agree that Nepal did not benefit from Koshi, but let us take more successful examples like Chukha. There is no problem with third party involvement in the SAARC process. The problem is with countries within the region.
Tashi Choden's presentation on "Indo-Bhutan Relations: Latest Trends" outlined the history of her country saying that Bhutan had been prompted into reevaluating its isolationist policy in the 50s after the Chinese invasion of Tibet and the China-India war of 1962. In spite of Bhutan's historical ties with Tibet, the Chinese policies made Bhutan develop ties with India. India too wanted the Himalayan states in its strategic fold. This led to Indo-Bhutan relations to take concrete form. She noted Nehru's speech during his visit to Bhutan which established the country as sovereign in the eyes of India as significant. She also said that Bhutan's exercise of foreign affairs was not constricted by Article 2 of the Bhutan-India treaty, that requires Bhutan to seek Indian advice to conduct it That, she said, has become obsolete when the country became the member of the United Nations with Indian backing. Water resources, defence matters and foreign policies were key areas of cooperation between the two countries, Choden said. But, she said that, the prospects of China and India coming together should not undermine Bhutan-India ties. Since Bhutan has adopted neutrality and national identity as an alternative security measure, India should consider Bhutan's vulnerabilities like economic migrants from the region and the separatists from across the border, she said.
Floor comments: • Bhutan's wisdom lies in resource exploitation with close cooperation with its neighbour. This needs to be emulated by others. • While explaining Article 2 of the treaty to the French ambassador at the UN once, the envoy had finally said, "India should be congratulated for guiding Bhutan to the UN." • Bhutanese diplomacy is successful. They are well ahead of us, the Nepalese. They worked hard for ties with India and they are reaping the benefits. Bhutan should now develop its ties with other neighbours, not only with India. • Is economic liberalization in Bhutan going in tandem with political liberalization? • Bhutan are exporting energy but losing from the multiplier effects that would accrue from industrialization if it were to be used by Bhutan itself. • Nepal and Bhutan have a standing refugee problem. Would it not pose a security threat to Bhutan later on? But Tashi Choden has not even mentioned it. • If China and India make up, what do you think would China's role be in Bhutan? Have they renounced their claim on Bhutan? • Do you see Indian involvement in resolving the Bhutanese refugees issue? • When one sixth of your population become refugees you think it is a peaceful country. Is it not ironic? • The Bhutanese refugees came through India. It is a unique situation. How do you look at this problem objectively. Please don't toe the official line? • Regarding Indo-Bhutan trade, liberalization has been continuing in India and Bhutan will have to liberalize as well. India should help Bhutan enter the WTO. India should also gradually pay more for the electricity it buys from Bhutan.
Tashi's reply
Bhutan does realize that ties will have to be developed with other countries, not just India.
Bhutan's development policy is to go slowly without affecting people's welfare. Regarding political liberalization, the national assembly has started representing people and decentralization has been initiated. The King is just a head of the state and commander-in-chief of the army at the moment.
Regarding Bhutanese refugees, it is an issue of big concern, but explaining that was not my intention. It is a bilateral issue. The two governments have agreed on this and I do not see any Indian role in the future.
We did not send 100,000 to the camps. The people in the camps were just 6,000 initially and rapidly grew to 100,000. I just see the problem as an offshoot of rampant poverty in South Asia.
My unofficial view is to agree with the official stance. The problem should be resolved as soon as possible.
In the event of India and China making up, it would be a good scenario for Bhutan.
The last working session seminar, chaired by Keshav Jha, began with Humayun Kabir's presentation on "Recent Trends in Bangladesh-India Relations". His presentation dealt with the contemporary issues in bilateral ties between the two countries. In it he discussed issues related with the border, trade, insurgent camps in Bangladesh, transit, gas exploration and water, particularly India's changing stance on several of them. Kabir's presentation highlighted the differences on these issues and said that water saw the most contentious of them. He said that India's no-first-use policy regarding N-arms made Bangladesh concerned particularly because of the policy not applying to countries allying with N-nations. Finally, he called for more friendliness in the foreign policies between the two countries so that both of them could benefit.
Excerpts of floor comments: • The author is wrong about India's no-first-use nuclear doctrine. India lays down no preconditions. • Why would US be interested to export Bangladeshi gas to India? • China's insistence that Bangladesh resolve issues with India is nothing new. It also told Nepal the same thing in the past. • Is India's look-east policy because of failure of efforts to open pipelines through Pakistan? • Regarding Indian militants in Bangladesh, it is bad for both India and Bangladesh. Black money is pouring into Bangladeshi textiles through the militants. • The author says that India supports particular parties in power. Please elaborate. • Burma has discovered huge gas reserves. Would Bangladesh see possibility of Burmese gas going to India through Bangladesh? • Regarding water, regional approach to exploitation is a good idea. Bangladesh should be more accommodative as it could be turned into another Hong Kong through sub-regional cooperation, because it holds command over the Bay of Bengal. You also raised the transit issue. Transhippment might be a better term. Because transit is bound by legal authority and laws exist to do so. In this regard, I request India to sign the convention. None of the coastal states have been signing it.
Kabir's reply
If I am wrong about the no-first use doctrine, I would be very happy man.
On gas, the US is interested in investing and would like the Indian market to consume it.
Regarding Indian militants working in Bangladesh, the latest report says 195 camps are operating from Bangladesh. One of the 195 camps that is claimed happens to be our own institute.
It used to be true that India supported one particular party, but my understanding is that that is no more the case.
Water treaties were signed only during Morarji Desai's tenure and Devegowda's tenure. That too is no more the case now.
Regarding water resources, we would prefer a multilateral approach.
Next in line was C.V. Ranganathan's presentation on "Major Powers and South Asia" where he sees better days ahead for South Asian security. This, particularly because both India and China were developing closer ties. "Stability will be a big factor in the days to come," he said and added that Panchasheel will be the important guiding light. The thing that has changed today is the changing centre of economic gravity to Asia. When Vajpayee visited China in 2003, the draft of cooperation that was signed, contained commitment from both India and China for South Asian cooperation. Ranganathan also expected US President George Bush to moderate his policies after his re-election, especially in the light of Europeans toeing such a line in global policy. And, this, he said, is good for South Asia.
Floor comments and questions: • On N-stability, global development counts because N-countries are global players. The second factor is regional. And, these major powers all have double-standards. The US threw IAEA to pressurize Iran, but nothing has been done regarding North Korea. • Indo-Pak normalization is vital for the success of SAARC. • Is the author implying that there is a collective threat from an external source to South Asia? • Can't we have a collective security concept like Europe? • What about US-China dynamics as you talked about China-South Asia and US-South Asia dynamics separately. US is supporting Nepal against the Maoists and other similar issues are also there. How is China looking at these developments? • The presentation did not include an important aspect which the Nepalese have noticed. India had objected to Nepalese imports of Chinese arms in 1989, but the post 9/11 situation changed that Indian stance. The US has since then been able to send arms to Nepal through India. This is a good change of heart on the part of India because India sees the Maoists as a threat too. The role of the US has been significant in South Asia. Last year, Gen. Ashok Mehta of India had said that India did not launch a limited war on Pakistan because of the presence of American troops in Pakistan. • There is no single culture in South Asia. There are two: the Indus and Ganga-Jamuna cultures. • Bangladesh was almost bombed by a nuclear device in the seventies, and that would have affected us as well. When will India sign the nuclear conventions? • The author says we need sensitivity. Indian bureaucrats advise politicians to be tough on their neighbours, but once retired, they say otherwise. • Nepal or other neighbours have a difficult time developing without Indian goodwill. But for Nepal, unilateral actions by India like in the refugee crisis, trade imbalance from arbitrary policies, and dams and dykes come in the way of better relations.
Ranganathan's reply
The growth quadrangle excludes Pakistan because of impatience with the SAARC pace which does include Pakistan. Now it has expanded to BIMST-EC. This is good news. India should have participated in the ASEAN network, but made a mistake then. It is also good that Pakistan also has a status in ASEAN.
SAARC does not face a collective threat. But we should get our acts together. The Chinese accommodate US interests in Central Asia in practice, in spite of writings showing concerns about that. Russia has been doing the same. But China and India have achieved that maturity which does not need cards while dealing with each other.
AQ Khan is not alone in selling N-materials to Iran. There is a lot of double standards among N-powers.
Inder Nath Mukherjee's presentation on "Trade Liberalization and Human Security in South Asia" focused on geoeconomics, rather than geopolitics, saying that it was the determining factor in the relations between countries today. But this requires very shrewd negotiations on the part of South Asian diplomats, he said. He charted the growth of the South Asian countries and said that the pace of liberalization, although a must, has to be determined by the country in question. He also recommended that agriculture be protected by South Asia as it is a livelihood issue.
Floor comments: • How does the author visualize SAFTA taking care of human security? • What is India's role in future challenges in WTO talks? • Pakistan's economy is consistently growing, as opposed to the author's thesis. The problem is that Pakistan might not be able to sustain it. • The paper talks about calibration. How far would you accept WTO suzerainty? I would rather talk of finding other ways to make up for the losses to the farmers from the state concerned. • Special and differential treatment with tariffs can be given to handicapped countries. • Indian tariff is too high, subsidy is too high. All that is hurting farmers of other South Asian countries. Even the interest rate is too high in India.
Mukherjee's reply
Competition is the key to liberalization, but even within the region some lists are developed to protect some items. SAFTA should therefore take calibration as an important issue.
LDCs [least developed countries] do not have to make commitments that others have to make. Within three years, all countries will be required to give 0 per cent tariff for LDCs.
Pakistan faced negative growth in the 90s and recent growth rates do not make up for that.
Non-LDCs should sit together to work out the calibration in the WTO regime for collective benefit.
Primary products in India are duty free and I do not think high tariff rates affect them.
The last presentation of the seminar, Nischal Nath Panday's "Refugees in South Asia and Impact on Regional Security" discussed countries in the region not having a uniform policy regarding refugees. Even within one country, for example, India protects only the Sri Lankans while others from Afghanistan, Tibet, Bhutan, Myanmar face the prospects of repatriation. It also provides sanctuary to those fighting political battles in their home countries. In Nepal's case, which hosts Bhutanese refugees, he said that even India has proved unkind in treating the Lhotsampas. Panday thinks that a South Asian framework is needed to deal with refugees in the region.
Floor comments and questions: • The author talks about Kashmiri Brahmins. Their interest in the Kashmir issue should also be included in a settlement. • Pakistan has assimilated a huge number of refugees in the past millennia. Many of the Afghans might not go back too. Pakistan is a melting pot. • Migration will never be controlled by policy. But we need to recognize it and form policy around it. Free movement of labour in South Asia is one possible policy that we could adopt. • The author says Bhutan expelled its own citizens. This is not true. If you come to Thimpu, you will see that they are doing well in Bhutan. With regard to dilly-dallying of Thimpu in the resolution, officials were attacked making it impossible to work. You talk of Bhutan pursuing discrimination. Is your viewpoint the official view of Nepal?
Panday's reply
I agree that Kashmiri pandits should be taken care of.
A regional mechanism would be appropriate for South Asia. I do not know of other regional blocs, except OAU, that deals with refugees.
On Bhutanese refugees, I do believe that the policy was discriminatory. The 100,000 Bhutanese were booted out of the country. Amnesty International has said that Bhutanese army has conducted the most brutal rapes. I say 'dillydallying' because it has already been 14 years of attempting to resolve the issue. Whenever there appears to be pressures, like international human rights meets, Bhutan starts showing interest. Otherwise, not.
The Nepali media is free and criticizes who it likes and does not have to agree with the government.
Concluding Session
Devraj Dahal, head of FES Nepal: We discussed the bio, techno and social spheres for the sake of comprehensive security. We are moving ahead from the Westphalian notion of security towards an inter-disciplinary notion of security. How do we move towards a post-national society? Coordination, steering and collective action have been discussed in the last two days. Ideas have been identified for future debate. The only question is how to relate those ideas to the framework of policy. I thank you all.
C.V. Ranganathan, on behalf of the participants: We thank IFA and FES for choosing an interesting topic for debate as it has been able to give us something to move with in the future. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to know so much.
In India, there is a rethink going on about what it can do with the responsibility it has been thrusted with.
Nischal Panday: We have had theoretical discussions, dissecting problems. We also discussed on Indian role in everything. This is because of India's central role and that is why most papers had focused their ties with India. Please make adjustments in your paper within 15-20 days so that we have time to send it to the publisher for publication.
Chairman: The PM spoke of a rising threat and the need to develop a common platform to combat it. The state minister for foreign affairs talked about identifying new areas for cooperation. The discussion tried to bring many issues to the fore. Thank you for a lively participation.

V15-th SAARC Summit: Leave “terrorism” plank!

By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Eight SAARC nations, namely Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, India and Maldives met in Colombo on 2-3 August essentially to discuss issues including trade imbalance, poverty, food crisis, price-rise, climate change and terrorism. Rising tensions in Kashmir, deadly bombs blistering through Indian cities with Indian media-cum-intelligence speculation that Muslim “militants” are behind the series of blasts, issues of nuclear power and prestige, these, rather than poverty alleviation of a third of the world’s population who call this region their home, will most likely dominate the talks even as the summit winds down today. Its non cooperation is best reflected by the fact that intra-regional trade of SAARC is still said to be only approximately 5.5% of the total trade of the member countries. In negotiations it is more a focus on the differences rather than the similarities that hold sway.
While discussing “terrorism” the leaders always skip the major component of terrorism, the state terrorism. Unfortunately, the issue of so-called “terrorism” has been haunting the SAARC, rather than any joint economic enterprises. India, the major player in the region with its new economic muscle got out of the public sector sales, has been using the SAARC to strengthen its hold over Kashmir and to warn the freedom seeking Kashmiris and hence “terrorism” has remained the focus of its addresses. That seems to be the crux of the weakening scenario in the South Asian region. Invariably acts of terrorism take place on thieve of international summits and SAARC is no exception. That India remains focused on anti-Pakistanism and anti-Kashmiris is not news for the world. It is because India occupies its neighbor Kashmir that terrorism is sustained and promoted by New Delhi to gain sympathy form the US-led West. India also is always talking about combating the menace of “terrorism” but the facts are not unknown to SAARC. Terrorism in Kashmir is the creation of New Delhi strategists to suppress the freedom movement and secret grave-yards characterize Indian democracy and neo-Gandhian approach to settling crises. New Delhi believes it should control the Kashmiris seeking their sovereignty back from occupier India with an iron hand which India has successfully done so far. India slams Pakistan as a routine matter to evade any serious business in SAARC. Violence has always been on the top of the agenda of SAARC summits. A declaration was made in 1987 at the Kathmandu summit due to the increase in sectarian violence in Sri Lanka and the rise of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. The myriad problems of SAARC countries cannot be solved through a one-off resolution on terrorism. Security, prosperity and economic integration can only be achieved by the strength of equality, unity, fraternity and soft borders. Due to these opposing forces, Saarc has failed to achieve its objectives of integrating the region as an economic, social, cultural and scientific entity. This is highly evident when it comes to the free movement of peoples across the region. There are visa restrictions, mostly for visitors traveling from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh to India. Challenges for SAARC

A productive and fruitful 15th SAARC summit was concluded at the BMICH in Colombo with high focus laid on taking collective action to confront Food and Energy Hikes in the region as well as the scourge of terrorism. Food and energy security, terrorism, climate change, water, poverty alleviation get top billing. SAARC has to concentrate on food security, climate conditioning and diseases and also focus on improving the socioeconomic condition of 1.5 billion people in the region. Apart from food, fuel and trade issues, critical issue of climate change, water resources, transport, social issues, terrorism, women empowerment and cooperation in science and technology dominated the summit talks. The Colombo Declaration on the basis of ‘Partnership for Growth for Our People’ was also considered and adopted. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who emphasized on the need for a common SAARC currency, underscored the prime importance of economic and commercial cooperation in the region. Outlining the global ramifications of reduced food availability in turn leading to high prices, and increasing energy costs, if not addressed to, he said, would reverse the progress and the development achieved by the respective governments. He stressed for developing alternative and renewable sources of energy including hydro-power, solar, wind and bio, and making the necessary reforms in increasing energy efficiency, transferring technology and in energy trading, asides conserving conventional sources of energy. Rajapaksa stressed the importance of implementing the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) in both letter and in spirit, accompanied by the resolution of the non-tariff barriers within the region, which result in the dilution of the benefits derived. The Energy Ministers of the SAARC countries are due to meet in Colombo next year to pursue them further. The Host Rajapaksa welcomed the Observers namely the People’s Republic of China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mauritius, the United States of America, Australia, Myanmar and the EU and appreciated their participation in the Summit. They approved the guidelines for cooperation and looked forward to working with them in the common pursuit of the partnership for growth for our people. They will make every possible effort to make SAARC function effectively and efficiently for the overall benefit of the region. All leaders spoke at the summit calling for concerted efforts by all members to bring about changes in the region, while discussing the issues facing each country, but very little was said about clear ways to achieve the collective effort. India and Afghanistan dwelt upon “terrorism” as if SAACK is meant only to kill the Muslims and other who seek equality and genuine rights. Bangladesh Foreign Adviser Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhruy remarked that the recent price-hike of food globally has reminded us of urgent need to address the situation comprehensively. The food crisis has affected the poorest segment of the society. Food security would constitute an important area of our collective endeavors. He said that SAARC Food Bank need to be made operational immediately to give a human face to the organization’s work. Bangladesh seeks another Green Revolution based on technology and innovative techniques. Critical Issues 1. Kashmir Tensions between Pakistan and India – SAARC’s biggest and most powerful members and Sri Lanka’s two largest neighbors- have also been exacerbated by continued hostilities in the disputed border area of Kashmir. India has accused Pakistan of violating a ceasefire accord in Kashmir, and troops from both sides traded gunfire recently, India was keen to keep terrorism on the top of the agenda. If the Kabul bomb that ripped through the Indian Embassy prompted Indian National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan to immediately point fingers at Pakistan’s Spy Agency ISI, calling it an ‘Agency of Evil that must be destroyed,’ India’s covert Research and Analysis Wing has been viewed with no less animosity in many parts of the region. Pakistan did not want to make Sri Lanka a playground for regional issues. India, which also supplies arms, reacts with anger over Pakistan’s continuous military support for Sri Lanka’s war. India derives, rather extracts, a lot of sadistic pleasure in blaming Pakistan and Kashmir for its own makings and for nothing. Indian occupation of Jammu Kashmir is the base cause for the regional tensions. The SAARC region has one of the highest number of people living under the poverty line. And India has made SAARC one of the weakest forums in the world. One is entitled to suspect that it is the very nature of this region’s people and its selfish leaders that often make it so. Illegal occupation of Kashmir by India and the mistrust between India and Pakistan, the two strongest members, have seriously harmed the efficacy and effectiveness of SAARC as a well-knit economic organization. India should consider surrendering sovereignty back to the struggling and dying Kashmiris and that Kashmir should join SAARC as a full member.
2. Poverty reduction
The SAARC was established with the aim of promoting the welfare of the people of the region through accelerated economic growth, social progress and cultural development. It has been pursuing collaboration in the area of agriculture and rural development, health and population activities, women, youth and children, education and environment among others. In this way, the objectives of the SAARC are to promote the welfare of the people of this region through the fulfillment of the SAARC Development Goals (SDG).
The South Asian region has enormous development potential. Yet, in many ways, its ability to address the problem of poverty has been limited. Creating opportunities to reduce poverty is a key issue. It has been recognized that without sustainable growth, we would be following a road that leads to the redistribution of poverty.
SAARC efforts, therefore, should be aimed at broadening and deepening the development process in ways that enlarge the basis of achieving a high rate of economic growth with a combination of mutually reinforcing factors.
The poor in our region not only have few income opportunities, they also lack access to basic human needs such as education, health, clean drinking water, sanitation and a clean environment. Limited access to these facilities limits their ability to secure gainful employment, and earn a respectable social status.
The problem tends to worsen when institutions of governance tend to ignore the true dimensions of poverty, and in the process do very little to address the issue.
The most important target of this development framework is to reduce the percentage of the population living below the food poverty line by one half by 2015 as set out by the Millennium Development Goals.
This can be accomplished through increased economic opportunities for the poor, implementation of policies regarding their empowerment, improved access to physical and social assets and social safety nets for those who are too weak to participate in the market-based growth process
However, there is no massive awareness about the SDGs even among the conscious segment of the society. The lack of awareness about regional and global goals is also because of the failure of the policymakers and officials to use the media as a tool.
It demands that a new approach in development be adopted. Furthermore, a renewed commitment for a collective approach would be a driving force for this. The leaders who have gathered in Colombo this week should make firm commitments for the fruitful and timely achievements of the main over-arching goal of poverty alleviation. The agreements & communiqué
The Heads of State, Foreign Ministers of the respective countries reached consensus on several issues; a) Charter of SAARC Development Fund (SDF) b) Agreement on the Establishment of South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO); SAARC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and the Protocol on Accession of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA). SAARC underscored the importance of combating global terrorism, a menace particularly rampant in the region which if not eradicated, would affect the region’s stability and security. The members have ensured the signature at this summit of the Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, condemned all forms of terrorist violence, and emphasized that our States should firmly cooperate, especially through the exchange of information on terrorism and organized crime. As a far-sighted SAARC project to unite the youth of the region, they have directed the South Asian University to commence its first session in 2010.
They also agreed to host the 16th Summit meeting of the SAARC Heads of State in the Maldives in 2009.The two-day 15th SAARC Summit Sunday adopted a 41-point Colombo Declaration articulating commitments of the South Asian leaders to implement the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) in its letter and spirit through issuing directives for removing trade barriers and giving special consideration to LDCs in the bloc. In the communiqué the SAARC leaders recognized the need to continue to address the major barriers hindering effective trade liberalization in the region, which include sensitive lists of items and Non-Trade Barriers (NTBs). The declaration focused on collective regional efforts in core areas of food, energy security, trade, combating terrorism, climate change, connectivity, terrorism, partnership for growth for the peoples of the region, environment, water resources, poverty alleviation, SDF, transport, ICT Development, SAFTA and Trade Facilitation and SAARC Social Charter.
The member-states want that the SAARC Food Bank be urgently operationalized, the SAARC Agriculture Perspective 2020 drawn up early and forge greater cooperation with the international community to ensure food availability and nutrition security in South Asia. The declaration stressed to make effort to move towards a uniform applicable low tariff for international direct-dial calls within the region; fast-tracking projects for improving intra-regional connectivity and facilitating economic, social and people-to-people contact. The South Asian heads of state or government resolved to work together on environment and climate change to prevent and address the threats to the livelihood of the peoples and to provide access to remedies when these rights are violated. They would also find an equitable distribution of responsibilities and rights among member-states and emphasized the role of cultural connectivity in bringing the peoples of South Asia closer, while reinforcing and projecting a distinct South Asian identity. They directed that the Agenda for Culture be implemented in full. In view of the emerging global situation of reduced food availability and worldwide rise in food prices, we direct that an Extra-ordinary Meeting of the Agriculture Ministers of the SAARC Member States be convened in New Delhi, India in November 2008, to evolve and implement a people-centered short to medium term regional strategy and collaborative projects that would, among others, lead to:
• Increase in food production;
• Investment in agriculture and agro-based industries;
• Agriculture research and prevention of soil health degradation;
• Development and sharing of agricultural technologies;
• Sharing of best practices in procurement and distribution; and
• Management of the climatic and disease-related risks in agriculture.
The net result of the summit was an agreement on a Partnership for Growth for the Peoples of South Asia, Regional cooperation Energy, Environment, Water Resources, Poverty Alleviation, SAARC Development Fund (SDF), Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Development, Science and Technology, Tourism, SAARC Social Charter, Culture, SAFTA and Trade Facilitation, Trade in Services, Women and Children, Education and Combating Terrorism. The leaders endorsed the Colombo Declaration of the fifteenth SAARC Summit.
The leaders renewed their resolve for collective regional efforts to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development which would promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and improve their quality of life and thereby contribute to peace, stability, amity and progress in the region.
The four agreements that got the seal of approval of the South Asian countries, as representatives from the observer-states looked over, are the Charter of SAARC Development Fund, agreement on the Establishment of South Asian Regional Standard Organization (SARSO), SAARC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Protocol on Accession of Afghanistan to South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement.

Appreciating the signing of the SAARC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters at the 15th summit today, they urged early ratification and implementation of the new common instrument of fight.
The heads of state or government renewed their resolve for collective regional efforts to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development which would promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and improve their quality of life and thereby contribute to peace, stability, amity and progress in the region.
They directed the SAFTA committee of experts to expeditiously resolve the issue of non-tariff and para-tariff measures to facilitate and enhance trade under the free-trading regime stipulated in the now-dormant SAFTA.
On combat against terrorism, the SAARC leaders expressed deep concern over the “serious threat posed by terrorism to the peace, stability and security of the region”.
They emphasized the need for strongest possible cooperation in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime amongst the relevant agencies of the member-states, especially in the area of information exchange.
On energy front, the heads of state or government stressed the urgent need for developing the regional hydro potential, grid connectivity and gas pipelines.
They noted that the possibility of evolving an appropriate regional inter-governmental framework may be explored to facilitate such an endeavor.
On poverty alleviation, the declaration emphasized undertaking sustained efforts, including developing and implementing regional and sub-regional projects towards the attainment of SAARC Development Goals (SDGs). It was stated that the decision by the Ministers on Poverty Alleviation to obtain an inter-governmental midterm review of the attainment of the SDGs to be completed by 2009. The SAARC leaders welcomed Nepal’s offer to host next Ministerial Meeting on poverty alleviation.
They expressed satisfaction at the signing of the SAARC Development Fund and also the launch and identification of the projects on women empowerment, maternal and child health and teacher training under the social window of SDF. They accepted with appreciation Bhutan’s offer to set up SDF Secretariat in Thimpu. Acknowledging the significant steps taken to alleviate poverty in the region, the heads of state or government resolved to combat poverty by all available means, especially through people’s empowerment.a

On transport sector, expressing satisfaction at the progress through the meetings of the Ministers of Transport, the SAARC leaders reiterated the critical importance of an efficient multimodal transport system in the region for integration and for sustaining the region’s economic growth and competitiveness. They urged early implementation in a gradual and phased manner of the proposals of the SAARC Regional Multimodal Transport Study (SRMTS) and took note of the progress made in the consideration of the draft of Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA).
The leaders also emphasized the need for assessing and managing its risks and impacts. In this regard, they called for an in-depth study on “Climate Justice”.
The declaration carries concern at the human loss suffered through natural disaster in the region and stress on the need for the timely provision of relief in humanitarian emergencies. They directed creating a Natural Disaster Rapid Response Mechanism to adopt a coordinated and planned approach to meet such emergencies under the aegis of the SAARC Disaster Management Centre.
They expressed deep concern over global climate change and its impact on the lives and livelihoods in the region while expressed satisfaction at the adoption of SAARC Action Plan and Dhaka Declaration on Climate Change by the SAARC Environment Ministers at the SAARC Ministerial Meeting in the Bangladesh capital on July 3, 2008.
On water resources, the SAARC leaders directed initiation of process of capacity building and encouragement of research, combining conservation practices such as rainwater harvesting, and river- basin management to ensure sustainability of water resources in South Asia.
Expressing deep concern at the looming global water crisis, they recognized that South Asia must be at the forefront of bringing a new focus to the conservation of water resources.
Some Observations: Irrelevance of SAARC?
Leaders from eight South Asian nations – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have outlined an ambitious set of goals for the 15th Saarc summit, which include poverty alleviation, ensuring food security, tackling energy shortfalls and fighting terrorism. There is skepticism that Saarc with varies voices can tackle such a to-do list. Saarc is notorious for issuing declarations full of rhetoric while there is little implementation of these directives. The grouping was formed to foster economic development in the region but old rivalries among members have blocked progress for the group.
SAARC, now at 23 years of age, could not yet create any significant impact in the minds of the people as an organization contributing towards the welfare of one fifth of the total population of the world. During this long time, the delay in implementation of decisions featured as unfortunate bottleneck and red tape emerged as a major impediment.
South Asian nations waste huge resources on military equipment and upgradation on a regular basis, while India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka spend about 20 % of their scarce resources that could have been used for poverty reduction, health care including diseases eradication. In fact in the name of defense every country is cheating their own voters and swindles their money on bribery and commissions. One wonders why India is so weapon thirsty and amazes such huge piles of arms arsenals, when a good majority of people are under poverty line, malnourished and sick. . According to the World Bank, South Asia is the poorest, the most illiterate, the most malnourished, the least gender sensitive and the most deprived region of the world. It contains about 22 percent of the world’s total population. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s poor live in this region. More than three quarters of South Asia’s 1.5 billion people earn less than two dollars a day. Almost all the countries of this region are facing similar problems like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, diseases, income inequality, low productivity and dependence on agricultural sector. Thus the socio-economic condition of this region as a whole is in shambles. In order to deal with all such challenges it was in 1985 that Saarc was formed. But as a whole it has failed miserably to make any significant headway pertaining to the development of the region. The reasons are many. Political reasons are especially the most notable hurdle in making this South Asian body stronger. There are more intra-state and inter-state conflicts in South Asia as compared to any other regional bloc in the world.
Deep-seated hostility between India and Pakistan has paralyzed key economic pacts, including the setting up of a free trade area. But with Pakistan’s new trade policy, according to which Pakistan would allow a greater range of imports from India, including diesel, it is hoped that the South Asian Free Trade Area (Safta) agreement would be followed in letter and spirit. By expanding trade links with India, Pakistan has moved forward towards implementing Safta. The Saarc countries should not forget that economic ties are the strongest in today’s world. India still refuses to involve the freedom fighting groups in peace talks fearing embarrassment on its part to account for genocides, destructions and secret grave-yards in Kashmir. India arrogance is causing problems. Manmohan Singh in his previous meetings with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, had sought to push the peace process even though other experiments like the joint mechanism on “terrorism” have predictably failed, because Kashmiris were never involved in the talks, no the issue of freedom was on their agenda. Granting sovereignty back to Kashmiris by India alone will pave the right path for regional normalcy and peace.
Tensions are now rising again due to an attack on the Indian embassy in Afghanistan last month that New Delhi blames on “elements” in Pakistan and a clash between Indian and Pakistani forces along the LoC. Pakistan has denied allegations its spies helped bomb the Indian embassy in Afghanistan, and there have been renewed border tensions over Kashmir. The row threatened to overshadow the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (Saarc) summit in Colombo. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry issued another denial, describing the claims as “total rubbish”. In the backdrop of the US-India Nuke deal the concerns have not only strained Pakistan-US relations but fueled tension between Pakistan and India. The one way to overcome the political differences would be to boost trade between the Saarc countries.
Since the establishment of SAARC, more often than not the nations fail to reach a consensus on many issues and most agreements are signed on a bilateral basis. Many observers have also pointed out that the rivalry between India and Pakistan and the longstanding dispute over Kashmir casts a shadow over the camaraderie and effectiveness of the entire exercise. In the Dhaka Declaration in December 1985, the Heads of State or Government present conceded that these countries of South Asia were faced with the formidable challenges posed by stark poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment and teeming population and sharing an imperialistic past. They concurred that regional cooperation provided a logical response to these problems. But even today these countries along with its newest member Afghanistan are far from having realized their goal. Many say it’s the summit of eight leaders of the region only makes for a nice photo opportunity, nothing else.
So-called terrorism has to be checked not by counter –terrorism but with measures that address the genuine concerns of those who take extreme steps as the only option open to them. However, the Convention for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters would provide a broad framework for the SAARC member countries to mutually cooperate and assist in the investigation and prosecution of crime and extremism, including state terrorism. However all unnecessary caution has to be observed when determining the crime and just don’t leave the matters to the security services alone. The speculations are rife regarding writing off the SAAC as an effective regional forum to augment the harnessing human natural resources for the furtherance of regional uplift. Like NAM and other organizations that have almost died down owing to the pressures for the time, SAARC is also being written off by the leaders themselves who want to protect their resources from being used for collective good. The two-day 15th SAARC Summit concluded on August 03 with the adoption of Colombo declaration on food security and the signing of four agreements on cooperation in core areas under the graduating South Asian grouping. The Lankan President announced that the next SAARC Summit would be held in Male, the capital of the Maldives, in 2009. Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, delivering vote of thanks in the closing session, said, “I am looking forward to welcoming all in Male at 16th SAARC Summit in 2009.” Sri Lanka will host the third Meeting of SAARC Energy Ministers in Colombo in 2009. Sri Lanka, the current chair of SAARC, Colombo now. The SAARC Development Goals in conjunction with the Millennium Development Goals would serve as a general backdrop for providing opportunities for poverty reduction in the region. The SAARC Development Goals are a step in the right direction. has earnestly voiced concerns to strengthen the forum to serve the region collectively. A lot is expected of Regional tensions in South Asia are the creation of India by militarizing Jammu Kashmir annexed by it in 1947. Sustained genocides on a regular basis and other criminal activities by state agencies have harmed not only Kashmiri lives, but also vitiated the atmosphere in the region. It is, therefore, certain that peace could be regained in the region when India withdraws its terror forces form Jammu Kashmir and surrender sovergnty back to the struggling Kashmiris. The ball is clearly on Indian courts.
Rate This


General Background: South Asia as the successor term to the Indian sub-continent was brought into usage by the United States and Britain presumably to de-emphasise India’s natural predominance in the sub-continent and to soothe their protégé Pakistan’s sensitivities in not being viewed as part of anything termed Indian. South Asia, otherwise, normally should encompass a much wider geographical construct. Be that as it may, what is striking about the South Asia region is that it has stood engulfed in conflicts, ever since the British partitioned India into the two successor states of India and Pakistan.
South Asia has witnessed five major armed conflicts in the last 50 years or so. Four of these armed conflicts were unleashed by Pakistan i.e. 1947-48; 1965; 1971; and 1999 (Kargil). The fifth was the Chinese attack launched in 1962. India’s responses to such a hostile security environment in South Asia has been to build up a sizeable conventional military force as part of its defensive doctrines and lately a nuclear deterrent.
South Asia Conflicts-The Narrow Prism Approach of The West: It has been fashionable for Western leaders, political commentators and strategic analysts to define South Asia’s conflicts through the narrow prism of what they term as Indo-Pak rivalries over Kashmir. So much so, that in the last decade or so, a new myth has been created by the United States policymakers that Kashmir has become a nuclear flashpoint and therefore merits external intervention in terms of conflict resolution.
United States and Western policy makers are noted for their high levels of intellectual calibre, rich backgrounds of professional experience and razor-sharp analytical skills. It is therefore intriguing that when it comes to an analysis of South Asia’s conflicts, these qualities recede and get overtaken by a single point obsessive reference to Kashmir i.e. convergence with the same single point agenda of Pakistan.
Obviously, when it comes to South Asia and the Indo-Pak conflict which predominates the region, intellectual integrity has to take a backseat when fig-leaves have to be found to screen strategic interests of the United States and the West. Kashmir and specifically the Kashmir Valley (a fraction of the entire Jammu & Kashmir state) is the Western fig-leaf.
South Asia minus Pakistan has been devoid of any inter-state conflicts. Therefore, in terms of viewing South Asia in terms of conflict resolution, the reference point for the impediments have to perforce focus on Pakistan, as that is where inter-state conflicts in South Asia get generated and proxy war and terrorism engineered
Pakistan’s Strategic Rationale for Existence as a Nation State: Pakistan’s strategic rationale for existence as a nation state has been the “two-nation theory” i.e. a separate nation for the Indian Muslim. Pakistan’s claims on Kashmir are neither legal nor historical but framed in the mould of the “two-nation theory”. What is irrefutable is that this theory stood negated in 1947 itself, when only eight million Indian Muslims of the then 40 million Indian Muslims in India migrated to Pakistan.
The day the Indo-Pakistan conflict fades away, for whatever reason, Pakistan’s strategic rationale for existence as a nation state disappears. This was so stated by Ross Masood, Director of the Pakistan Institute for Strategic Studies in an address in New Delhi in the early 1990s.
Pakistan, therefore has a major vested interest in the perpetuation of conflict in South Asia as General Musharraf, the military ruler of Pakistan put it so succinctly, that even if Kashmir is resolved, there will be many more Kashmirs.
Such attitudinal fixations in the Pakistan hierarchy is a major impediment for conflict resolution in South Asia .
Pakistan’s Build up as a “Spoiler State” in South Asia- The External Inputs in Conflict Generation: Pakistan’s propensity for resorting to armed conflicts stands greatly enhanced by the bestowal of a “spoiler state” status conferred on it by the United States at frequent intervals and China persistently since 1962.
The United States in the pursuance of its regional balance of power policies against India, found a willing proxy in Pakistan. Weapons and weapons technologies attendant in United States military aid packages were basically offensive-doctrines oriented. With superior technology of the day, the United States thereby imparted to Pakistan, deep strike capabilities against India.
China’s role was more sinister in terms of upgradation of Pakistan’s military capabilities. They not only provided sizeable conventional arms packages to reduce the gap in India’s conventional military, but also built up Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and missile arsenal to enable Pakistan to offset India’s conventional might.
Pakistan today cannot even stand on its legs without the political, military and economic support from the United States and China. It was ending up as a “failed state” and “rogue state” till the precise moment of the morning of 9/11 when the Islamic Jehadi bombings took place in New York and Washington.
Pakistan has convinced itself and has been led to believe so by the United States and China, that it can continue with its armed conflicts and proxy wars with India and that if Pakistan gets hard pressed by India militarily, they will bail out Pakistan by coercive pressures on India.
Conflict resolution in South Asia, therefore stands greatly impeded by these external inputs of conflict generation from the United States and China.
Conflict Resolution in South Asia-“No Honest Brokers”: Even if the above-analyzed impediments to conflict resolution stood diluted somehow and one was to look around for some “honest brokers” to mediate in the conflict, the short answer would be: “NO HONEST BROKERS EXIST”.
Of the five members of the UN Security Council, two i.e. United States and China stand disqualified for their role in conflict generation in South Asia. They are unacceptable to Indians for their partisan role. The third, Britain, has vested interests right from the inception of the partition plan. The other two i.e. Russia and France, do not carry much strategic weight today.
The Islamic countries rule themselves out automatically. The major ones like Saudi Arabia have not only financed Pakistan’s nuclear and missile arsenal but also Pakistan’s proxy war against India. The other liberal democracies in Europe and Asia Pacific have strategic linkages with the United States and are therefore susceptible to American pressure in policies towards South Asia.
The absence of “honest brokers” for negotiating an end to South Asia’s Indo-Pak conflict seriously impedes any conflict resolution process.
South Asia Conflict- Civilisational and Historical: People outside South Asia and not conversant with Indian History cannot fathom as to how South Asia’s conflicts could be characterized as civilisational and historical. Even the Indian pseudo-liberal establishment puckers its noses at this thought, because it distracts them from their Utopian dreams and brings them to face this reality.
The founder of Pakistan, Mohd. Ali Jinnah has gone on record to state that the seeds of India’s “two-nation theory” were sowed when the first Muslim stepped on India’s soil. Couple this psyche with nearly 700 years of Muslim despotic rule over India and one finds the answer to Pakistan’s attitudinal fixation of unwillingness to accept its asymmetric status in contemporary South Asia, today. Even if one were to find “honest brokers” for conflict resolution in South Asia today, their efforts would get impeded and marginalized by the attitudinal fixations of Pakistan’s elite born out of these civilizational and historical roots.
Concluding Observations: South Asia conflict resolution efforts can only succeed and the region emerge as a conflict free zone, if the following developments could emerge: * United States and China de-link themselves as external inputs in South Asia’s conflict generation. This would then end Pakistan’s continuance as the “regional spoiler” state challenging the natural balance of power in South Asia by external infusions. * United States and China conceding India’s status as the regional power in South Asia and consequently the prevailing over Pakistan to give up its oversized strategic ambitions in South Asia. In return they could provide some strategic guarantees to soothe Pakistan’s strategic fears.
* It dawns on United States and China that regional stability can only be best served by regional powers and not by building up regional “spoiler states.” “Spoiler states” are like hand maidens, adept and prone to promiscuous strategic relationships. Pakistan is a prime example with its nuclear weapons proliferation to North Korea even after 9/11 and thereby creating new threats for United States in Asia Pacific At the time when Pakistan’s sins were being redeemed by the United States ‘beatification’ of General Musharraf, he was busy merrily passing on nuclear weapons equipments to North Korea.
Emergence of the above developments would exceed the bounds of optimism, because neither the United States nor China have so far displayed any trends to move in these directions.
What is not being adequately appreciated and recognized by Western policy makers is that their tinkering with the natural balance of power in South Asia and their marked proclivity to be permissive of Pakistan’s strategic delinquencies could spark India to build and upgrade her strategic military might. Such a strategic build up would be one that Pakistan could not afford nor Pakistan’s external patrons be in a position to offset by their infusion

Similar Documents

Free Essay


...ESSAY ON SAARC by a2zcontentinfo @ 2013-05-04 – 06:33:44 The member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are called the Seven Sisters of South Asia, because of their geographical proximity and relations based on culture, ethnicity and economics. SAARC came into existence in December 1985, at Dhaka, Bangladesh.It has 8 countries as members, they are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan. Secretariat was located at Kathmandu. Main Objectives of SAARC Charter: To improve quality of life and promote welfare of the peoples of South Asia. - To accelerate economic growth, social and cultural development in the region. - To promote self-reliance among the countries of South Asian Region. - To generate mutual trust and understanding of each others problems. - To strengthen cooperation with other developing countries. - To cooperate on matters of common interest in international fora. - To strengthen cooperation with regional and global organisations. Population and Economic Potential: 1.4 billion people, one-fifth of the World’s population. Home to one-fifth of the World’s consumers with an average yearly income of $ 450. The SAARC region with a total market size of one and quarter billion people offers enormous potential for Intra-regional trade and cross-border investment. Intra-SAARC trade is less than 5 per cent. The SAARC region is among the poorest regions of the world. The region has...

Words: 1059 - Pages: 5

Free Essay


...Agreement on the Establishment of South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO) Preamble The Governments of SAARC Member States Desiring to achieve and enhance coordination and cooperation among themselves in the fields of standardization and conformity assessment; and Aiming to develop harmonised standards for the region to facilitate intra-regional trade and to have access in the global market. Have agreed as follows: Definitions: South Asian RSO: South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) SAARC Standard: Standard that is developed or adopted by SARSO and made available to the SAARC Member States. Article 1 Establishment of the South Asian Regional Standards Organisation i.  There is hereby established a body to be known as the South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (hereafter referred to as the ‘Organisation’). ii. The Organisation shall have full legal personality. iii. The legal capacity of the Organisation shall include: (a) the capacity to contract;   (b) to sue and be sued in its name; and (c) to acquire, hold and dispose of properties. iv. The location of the Organisation shall be in Dhaka, Bangladesh. v. The Organisation shall be a regional organisation which will conduct its affairs under the provisions of this Agreement, its Statutes, Rules of Procedure and bye laws. vi. Adoption of the Organisation’s decisions shall be by consensus. Article 2 Objectives and Functions ...

Words: 1585 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay


...The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an organisation ofSouth Asian nations, which was established on 8 December 1985 when the government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka formally adopted its charter providing for the promotion of economic and social progress, cultural development within the South Asia region and also for friendship and co-operation with other developing countries. It is dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasising collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Afghanistan joined the organisation in 2007. Meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually. It is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. The objectives and the aims of the Association as defined in the Charter are:[3] • to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life; • to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realise their full potential ; • to promote and strengthen selective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia; • to contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another's problems; • to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical...

Words: 2709 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay


...SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION INTRODUCTION: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an organization of South Asian nations, founded in 1985 and dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasizing collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan joined the organization in 2007. Meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually. Headquarters are in Kathmandu, Nepal HISTORY: The concept of SAARC was first adopted by than Bangladeshi president Ziaur Rahman. In the late 2000s, Indian President G.N.V Sampath proposed the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries. The idea of regional cooperation in South Asia was again mooted in May 2001. The foreign secretaries of the seven countries met for the first time in Colombo in April 2002. The Committee of the Whole, which met in Colombo in August 2002, identified five broad areas for regional cooperation. New areas of cooperation were added in the following years.[1] The objectives of the Association as defined in the Charter are:[2] * to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life; * to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize...

Words: 2716 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay


...Expanding Horizons and Forging Cooperation in a Resurgent Asia SAARC 2015 The New Delhi Statement on SAARC 2015 and Asian Resurgence © Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, March 2007 Published by: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung India Office K-70B, Hauz Khas Enclave New Delhi Email: Edited by: Kant K. Bhargava and Mahendra P. Lama Designed and printed by: New Concept Information Systems Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi ISBN 81-7440-065-6 Contents Foreword Preface Background Paper Inaugural Address by I.K. Gujral Group Reports New Delhi Statement Annexures: (i) Programme (ii) List of Participants & Special Invitees (iii) List of Written Papers and Presentations Related Publications iv vi 1 17 23 45 56 71 Foreword As part of its programme for the promotion of regional cooperation in South Asia, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung organised the Conference on SAARC 2015: Expanding Horizons and Forging Cooperation in a Resurgent Asia in February 2007 in New Delhi in collaboration with Ambassador Kant K. Bhargava, former Secretary-General of SAARC, and Prof. Mahendra Lama, Chairman, Centre for South, Central, South East Asian and South West Pacific Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The main thrust of the Conference was that the SAARC as an entity and its member states must prepare themselves well for leveraging the opportunities arising from the current resurgence in Asia. The Background Paper for the Conference was prepared...

Words: 20130 - Pages: 81

Free Essay


...SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION (SAARC) The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) consist the seven states; China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indian, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Officially came into existence in 1985 with the adopting of its Rent at the first meeting in Dhaka (December 7-8, 1985). The idea of regional cooperation was first recommended through ‘a regional forum’ by Bangladesh in 1980, with a perspective to positioning regular regional stage solutions among nations in Southern region, Japan on concerns of typical attention and possible cooperation in financial, public and other areas. The reasoning was mainly predicated on the assumption that regional encounters anywhere in the globe had been highly successful and that the areas in the Southern region Oriental area would benefit substantially from such cooperation as it would enhance their aggressive position, both independently and as a group. The Bangladesh offer recommendation that built in sense highly validated regional cooperation, particularly among Southern region China, because the nations in the area enjoy regional contiguity, traditional, public and cultural affinities which would act as synchronization and to reducing of deal costs. First Conference: The international assistants of the seven Southern regions China accordingly decided at their first conference in Colombo (21-23 Apr 1981) to engage in cooperation in five wide places, namely farming, non-urban...

Words: 3788 - Pages: 16

Premium Essay


... South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an organization of South Asian nations, which was established on 8 December 1985 when the government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka formally adopted its charter providing for the promotion of economic and social progress, cultural development within the South Asia region and also for friendship and co-operation with other developing countries. It is dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasising collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Afghanistan joined the organization in 2007. Meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually. It is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. The combined economy of SAARC is the 3rd largest in the world in the terms of GDP (PPP) after the United States and China and 5th largest in the terms of nominal GDP. SAARC nations comprise 3% of the world's area and contain 21% (around 1.7 billion) of the world's total population and around 9.12% of Global economy as of 2015. SAARC also home to world's 3rd & 7th largest Economy of world in GPP(PPP) & GDP(Nominal) terms respectively as well as World's fastest growing major Economy, that is...

Words: 2261 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Major Issues Concernig Saarc Countries & Its Solutions

...• The biggest problem faced by any SAARC country is poverty. Poverty has a wide spectrum of causes which vary from country to country. Issues like Naxalism in India, Civil wars in Sri Lanka, Terrorism in Pakistan have a direct link to poverty. Illiteracy and ignorance have resulted in an unbridled rise in population in many under developed nations. This is one of the alarming problems faced by the world considering its impact on global food and commodity market. The impact is so severe that, India which once was an exporter of food grains became an importer. The literacy rate of a country is dependent on socio-economic status of the people. This problem can be viewed from the other side in a different way. Though the land under cultivation in India is more than that of China, Indian agriculture can't feed its own people, while the Chinese could feed themselves. 60% people in India rely on agriculture directly, but its contribution towards GDP is just around 20% to 30% .Lack of implementation of modern technology in the field of agriculture, fragmented land holdings, low irrigation potential, unviable returns etc can be shown as the causes here. Considering the GDP as the bench mark for development of a country, India registered a growth rate around 9% only after globalization in 1991. This clearly indicates that market based economy with minimum regulations encourage entrepreneurship. Survival of small scale and micro level industries is one of the key aspects in the success...

Words: 656 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Enhancing Intra-Saarc Trade: Pruning India’s Sensitive List Under Safta

...Enhancing Intra-SAARC Trade: Pruning India’s Sensitive List under SAFTA Nisha Taneja Saon Ray Neetika Kaushal Devjit Roy Chowdhury April 2011 List of Abbreviations FTA - Free Trade Agreement ISLFTA - India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement LDC - Least Developed Contracting State NLDC - Non-Least Developed Contracting State RCA - Revealed Comparative Advantage SAARC - South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAFTA - South Asia Free Trade Agreement WITS - World Integrated Trade Solution Key words Revealed Comparative Advantage Is a ratio of the shared of given product in a country’s export to its share in world export. The revealed comparative advantage is an index used in international economics for calculating the relative advantage or disadvantage of a certain country in a certain class of goods or services as evidenced by trade flows. Concessions-mean tariff and non-tariff privileged by agreement under Tariff Liberalization Programme. Sensitive list-A list of items agreed by all member countries which are vulnerable to competition. It is the products of which will not be subject to tariff reduction. Notified Sensitive List- Is the original list at the time inception of SFTA Operational Sensitive List-Is the list constructed after taking all Central Board of Excise Customs notification into account Non-tariff measures- Include any measure, regulation or practice other than tariff Introduction The last two decades have witnessed a number...

Words: 1843 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Real Estate-India

...|South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) | |List[show] | |දකුණු ආසියාතික කලාපීය සහයෝගිතා සංවිධානය | |दक्षिण एशियाई क्षेत्रीय सहयोग संगठन (दक्षेस) | |दक्षिण एशियाली क्षेत्रीय सहयोग संगठन (सार्क) | |সাউথ এশিয়ান এসোসিয়েশন ফর রিজিওনাল কো-অপারেশন (সার্ক) | |د سویلي اسیا لپاره د سیمه ایزی همکارۍ ټولنه | |جنوبی ایشیائی علاقائی تعاون کی تنظیم | |ދެކުނު އޭޝިޔާގެ ސަރަޙައްދީ އެއްބާރުލުމުގެ ޖަމިއްޔާ | |தெற்காசிய நாடுகளின் பிராந்தியக் கூட்டமைப்பு (சார்க்) | |[pic] | | | | | | | |[pic] | |  Members States | |  Observers States | |Headquarters |Kathmandu, Nepal...

Words: 2211 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Indian Student

...* Introduction of project:- SAARC:- The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an organization of South Asian nations, which was established on 8 December 1985 when the government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka formally adopted its charter providing for the promotion of economic and social progress, cultural development within the South Asia region and also for friendship and cooperation with other developing countries.  It is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. ASEAN:- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam then joined in 1984, Viet Nam on in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN. * Objective of research project:- SAARC:- * It aims at increasing people to people contact and sharing of information among the SAARC members. * It encourages active collaboration in economic, technical and scientific fields * It promotes qualiy of life and economic growth in the region. ASEAN:- * To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation...

Words: 643 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay


...FDI IN ASEAN AND SAARC: A COMPARISON OF THE TWO MAJOR TRADING BLOCKS Foreign direct investment Foreign direct investment is a foreign investment that establishes a lasting interest in or effective management control over an enterprise. Foreign direct investment can include buying shares of an enterprise in another country, reinvesting earnings of a foreign- owned enterprise in the country where it is located, and parent firms extending loans to their foreign affiliates. International monetary fund (IMF) guidelines consider an investment to be a foreign direct investment if it accounts for at least 10 percent of the foreign firm's voting stock of shares. However, many countries set a higher threshold because 10 percent is often not enough to establish effective management control of a company or demonstrate an investor's lasting interest. Entities making direct investments typically have a significant degree of influence and control over the company into which the investment is made. Open economies with skilled workforces and good growth prospects tend to attract larger amounts of foreign direct investment than closed, highly regulated economies. FDI is the sum of equity capital, other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown the balance of payments. FDI usually involves participation in management, joint-venture, transfer of technology and expertise. There are two types of FDI: inward and outward, resulting in a net FDI inflow (positive or negative) and "stock...

Words: 850 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Millenium Development Goal

...Pro Poor Growth. 01 (01) 2013. 19-28 ISSN: 2306-1669 (Online), 2310-4686 (Print) Journal of Pro Poor Growth An International Perspective ACHIEVEMENTS OF MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGS) IN SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION OF REGIONAL CORPORATIONS (SAARC) COUNTRIES: A CASE OF NEPAL Kushum Shakya* Central Department of Economics, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. ABSTRACT South Asian Association of Regional Cooperative (SAARC) countries have achieved considerable progress in socioeconomic indicators like poverty reduction, educational attainment and improved health facilities. The progress, however, is not uniform across the countries. The aim of this paper is to assess the progress made by SAARC with regard to selected Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and its achievement and gap in Nepal. The paper shows; i) Status of SAARC countries with respect to selected MDGs, ii) Achievements of MDGs in the case of Nepal and iii) the gaps to achieving the targets. The paper shows that the most SAARC countries including Nepal have performed poorly with MDGs. It is therefore concluded that there is need to prioritize to meet all goals in post MDGs for Nepal. Keywords: SAARC, MDG, Post-MDG, socio-economic. INTRODUCTION The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have eight goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world's main development challenges. The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted...

Words: 5893 - Pages: 24

Premium Essay


...India’s Trade with SAARC Countries (Value in US $ Billion)   | 2006-07 | 2007-08 | 2008-09 | 2009-10 | 2010-11 | 2010-11 (April-Oct) | 2011-12 (April-Oct) | Exports | India’s Total | 126.41 | 163.13 | 185.30 | 178.75 | 251.13 | 123.17 | 170.11 | % share of SAARC countries | 5.12 | 5.91 | 4.62 | 4.69 | 5.13 | 4.65 | 3.76 | Imports | India’s Total | 185.74 | 251.65 | 303.70 | 288.37 | 369.77 | 208.821 | 277.26 | % share of SAARC countries | 0.81 | 0.84 | 0.60 | 0.57 | 0.59 | 0.55 | 0.52 | Source:DGCI&S Highlights of Trade with SAARC | * During April-October 2011-12, Sri Lanka was the largest trading partner of India in SAARC region. * During April-October 2011-12, India has recorded a negative growth rate of exports with Nepal and Pakistan in SAARC region. * During April-October 2011-12, the lowest decline in growth of exports was recorded for Pakistan at (-) 34.93%. * Except for Bhutan, India runs a trade surplus with all other trading partners. | Bilateral Trade with Pakistan (Value in US $ million) Year | Exports | Imports | Total Trade | Balance of Trade | 2006-07 | 1350.09 | 323.62 | 1673.71 | 1026.47 | 2007-08 | 1950.53 | 287.97 | 2238.50 | 1662.56 | 2008-09 | 1439.88 | 370.17 | 1810.05 | 1069.71 | 2009-10 | 1573.32 | 275.94 | 1849.26 | 1297.38 | 2010-11 | 2333.67 | 332.51 | 2666.18 | 2001.16 | 2010-11 (APril-Oct) | 1066.90 | 201.16 | 1268.06 | 865.74 | 2011-12 (APril-Oct) | 694.25 | 226.16 | 920.41 | 468.09 | Source:...

Words: 1215 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay


...Introduction: SAARC, NAFTA and EU are the three regional organizations situated in three different continents Asia, North America and Europe respectively. Among them EU is well establish governance system with a unique parliament comprise by the member state. SAARC and NAFTA are not having a governance system compare to EU. In the economic perspective NAFTA is the largest trade bloc in the world in terms purchasing power parity. EU is holding the second positive and SAARC is comparative weak in all aspect than the two. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and geopolitical organization of eight South Asian nations. Ex-president of Bangladesh, Ziaur Rahman was the one who made a formal proposal on May 2, 1980. The first SAARC summit was held in Dhaka on 8 December 1985, when the organization was established. Afghanistan is the only new inclusion that happened since SAARC was established.  Every decision SAARC takes and every policy it frames is guided by the overall objectives it had set for itself in the charter. Although promoting “welfare economics” and “collective self-reliance” among the South Asian nations are the commonly quoted objectives, yet there are some equally important focus areas which need a mention. “Accelerating economic growth” and cultural development in South Asia is one of the priorities, which come under the broader goal of improving quality of life. Ref: Francesco...

Words: 997 - Pages: 4