‘China should become part of SAARC structure’

Globalisation is putting pressure on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to change its traditional ways of working, according to Imtiaz Ahmed, Executive Director of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS), a 23-year-old South Asian regional think tank.

Trade linkage

“The way globalisation is working, whether you like it or not, the borders are not the same they used to be. Now, it is almost impossible to keep your business within your borders. You need to link and re-link with a lot of other countries. That is going to impact on South Asia incredibly. How quickly we are going to take advantage of that depends on us,” Prof. Ahmed told The Hindu recently.

The message behind the trend of globalisation is that the region has to include China, which, he called, has now become a “South Asian country” for all practical purposes.

This is because the South Asian countries, be it India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, were having very close and strong ties with China in terms of trade and development.

Emphasising the need for changes in the two fundamental provisions of the SAARC Charter, he said a time-frame had to be fixed for the continuance of the two provisions — decisions at all levels to be based on unanimity and exclusion of bilateral issues. It was all right to have these stipulations 30 years ago at the time of establishment of the SAARC but “you cannot have them frozen”.

On the structure of the SAARC secretariat, Prof. Ahmed called for the appointment of a former Prime Minister or President from any one of the member-countries of the region as Secretary General.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 9:01:07 pm |