Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/ or affecting India’s interests.
3) Comment on the aspects that are turning SAARC futile and dysfunctional. What steps should be taken to make it more relevant and workable in the present conditions?(250 words)
Why this question:
The question is about discussing the problems facing SAARC and the futility and ineffectiveness that is being witnessed by the partnership.
Demand of the question:
The answer is straightforward and must discuss the reasons of SAARC’s ineffectiveness and dysfunctionality.
Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.
Structure of the answer:
- Although conceptualized to collaborate on common problems of member nations like low intra-regional trade, infrastructure, sustainable development and poverty alleviation, SAARC has failed to be effective and turned dysfunctional due to the following reasons:
- The success of European Union was facilitated by France and Germany, the two bitter rivals, coming together. In contrast, India and Pakistan, the two big rivals could not come to common terms.
- SAARC charter doesn’t allow discussion of bilateral issues as a result of which the contentious issues continue to simmer and countries are not able to come forward.
- Trade barriers: Tariff and non-tariff barriers have also played their role in keeping the level of integration low while Pakistan hasn’t extended MFN status to India with so many items been put under the ‘negative list’
- Failure to ensure single window clearance and removal of clumsy procedures resulted in high cost trade inhibiting the growth potential of the region.
- Non-availability of adequate infrastructure in the form of roads and cargo/ship handling equipment has also hindered the progress.
- Due to same agriculture produce like Basmati rice in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh scope of trade is also inherently less.
- Regional problems: Srilankan Tamil issue, Bangladesh’s political conflict, Nepal’s unstable terrain, and political instability in Pakistan further aggravated by militancy creating real bottlenecks in developing the region.
Conclude with what should be the way ahead.