Saarc summit cancelled, not adjourned

September 30,2016

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ISLAMABAD: The Saarc summit, scheduled to be in November, has been cancelled, not adjourned, and its fate is not clear so far.

Source told The News that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had himself reviewed arrangements to host the Saarc guests. All the dignitaries were supposed to stay in Murree, while the banquet in their honour was arranged at a prime hotel in the capital.

According to diplomatic sources, there is no chance of the summit being held even during next year in Pakistan. They maintain only Pakistan's withdrawing from its right to the host event can clear its future.

On the other hand, India has also decided to undermine Saarc through projecting BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) that comprises Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

The BIMSTEC Secretariat has been established in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The member states has been especially invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to participate in the two-day BRICS summit scheduled to be held in Goa on Oct 15 and 16.

The diplomatic circles have been abuzz with the news India would not participate in the Saarc summit after the cancellation of scheduled lunch of the Indian interior minister in Islamabad last month.

It is also the talk of the town that the cancellation of the Saarc summit is a failure of Pakistan's diplomacy and foreign policy with an argument that if India could engage the neighbouring countries and influence them to fulfil its endeavours then why Pakistan is unable to do the same, given it is not only India which has refused to attend the summit but as others too have also followed its path.

The summit cancellation has also put a big question mark on the future of the organisation, as Saarc has failed to justify its existence, having nothing worth mentioning to its credit. On the other hand, the regional organisations like BIMSTEC founded by India have achieved noticeably.

Defence analysts are seeing this as an equivalent to rising tensions on the borders. There is a dire need that such a situation should be tackled through backdoor diplomacy but unfortunately we don't have any designated channel at the moment.


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