Question 1: The destiny of regional cooperation in South Asia depends on the performance of SAARC grouping. In light of the above statement critically discuss the India’s role in reviving new spirit of regional cooperation.
|Give a brief introduction in which you can relate SAARC grouping with regional cooperation aspect.|
|Then write about the current performance of SAARC.Also mention it’s potential.|
|What role India can play ( some recent initiatives should be mentioned)|
|Some key limitations should be mentioned.|
|Conclude answer accordingly.|
SAARC is the only regional organization at the governmental level for the 8 member countries to chalk out their differences and promote welfare of the people, to improve quality of their life and accelerate economic growth.
It has been striving to strengthen economic cooperation and maximise South Asia’s vast potential for trade and development.
- SAPTA: South Asia Preferential Trading Agreement for promoting trade amongst the member countries came into effect in 1995.
- SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS)
- SAARC University
India has attempted to build consensus at all levels among Member States and has taken steps to increase cooperation in areas such as trade and finance; infrastructure and connectivity; energy; culture and education; agriculture and food security; health; science and technology; youth, women and child welfare; poverty alleviation, etc.
India has also made unilateral offers for setting up a Special Purpose Facility to finance infrastructure projects in the region, upgradation of the SAARC Supra Reference Laboratory at Kathmandu, supplying vaccines for the children of South Asia, tele-medicine projects in Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal, launching of SAARC satellite by 2016, building of South Asian University at the cost of around USD 240 million and made voluntary contribution of US $ 100 million to the SAARC Development Fund.
India initiated to set up the SAARC joint emergency relief fund and donated $10 million.
A dedicated website was created by SAARC Disaster Management Center to facilitate the interactions of SAARC health and trade officials to fight the pandemic at the regional level.
India also developed an electronic platform, COINEX (SAARC COVID19 Information Exchange Platform) for the exchange of specialized information and tools on COVID 19, for use among the SAARC countries.
India took active participation in fighting COVID-19 collectively reaffirms India’s interest and commitment towards the regional organization
However there are still some challenges like perception about India playing big brother and India-Pakistan rivalry, which need to be addressed for larger benefits of entire region.
Besides political commitment and deeper engagement on the part of its member-states, SAARC needs a new result-oriented conceptual framework, in which India can contribute substantially.