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10 December 2014, Gateway House

The 18th SAARC Summit

Expectations were high from the 18th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu on November 26-27. However the Summit disappointed on the deliverables as tensions between India and Pakistan as well as Pakistan's domestic compulsions prevented the signing of two major agreements. The failure of this summit means that economic integration remains a distant dream

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At the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in Kathmandu, most of the member states had pinned high hopes on the ability of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to promote an agenda of increased connectivity in order to ensure economic growth in the region.

However, the summit failed largely because of the political enfeeblement of Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was unable to even acquiesce to the three agreements to be signed—on rail and road connectivity, and an energy grid. 

Another factor that disrupted the summit was Pakistan’s and Nepal’s push to expand China’s role in SAARC—India does not favour China’s inclusion, and the disagreement on this issue implicitly impacted other discussions as well.  

The failure of the summit has clarified the need for India to instead bilaterally pursue its security and connectivity priorities with its north-eastern and southern neighbours. 

Here is a look at the various articles by Gateway House experts on the 18th SAARC Summit.

Can SAARC succeed despite itself?

The recent SAARC Summit was once again derailed by India-Pakistan dissonances. Is it time for India to look beyond this collective? Or are there ways to overcome the distrust and address border issues, build institutions to implement common goals, and create an economic union of confident democracies? Read more

Will SAARC embark on a new path?

The 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu next week is an opportunity for member countries to start shaking off the shackles of distrust. Instead, SAARC must robustly move forward on such issues as regional connectivity, SAFTA, climate change, and security—and India can be the prime mover in building this renewed cooperation. Read more

Combating terror financing through SAARC

Despite an early regional consensus on counter-terror, SAARC’s record in tackling terrorism remains dismal. With the widening network of terrorist groups in the subcontinent, it is imperative that India takes the lead in forging substantial counter-terrorism cooperation, particularly on the issue of financing. Read more

SAARC debriefing

The 18th SAARC Summit held in Nepal concluded on November 27 with the release of the Kathmandu Declaration. Did the summit live up to its expectations? Was concrete progress made, and if so in which areas? Where is SAARC heading now? Gateway House asks and answers five questions on the outcome of the summit. Read more

PSAARC: humanism over nationalism?

Parallel to the official SAARC meeting was the People’s SAARC in Kathmandu. Comprising NGOs, civil society leaders, and activists, the PSAARC is a platform that rejects narrow nationalism and religion in favour of a transcendent South Asian identity. Read more

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