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Essay, Paragraph, Speech on “Success of SAARC in Changing Scenario” Complete Paragraph, Speech for Classes 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Success of SAARC in Changing Scenario

SAARC – South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation was established in 1985 and its first summit was held in Dhaka (Bangladesh). The idea of grouping together on the regional basis of South Asian Nations was mooted since 1980, but the idea could become a reality only in 1985. The member states of this organization are Bangladesh, Bhulan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

This organization has been formed to focus on the need of a common platform for the people of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust and understanding – these are SAARC’s general objectives. It has been the objective and intention of SAARC to discuss multilateral issues, which are of common concern to its members and has identified areas on which collective position can be promoted in international forum. These include world trade, and financial clauses, environmental issues, disarmament and development issues.

The SAARC charter provides for annual summits that mean 19 summits so far, but under the compulsions of politics of the region, only 11 summits have taken place.

Only a few SAARC summits have occurred without being marred by one controversy or the other. In fact the Islamabad summit scheduled to be held in Jan, 2004, was postponed over India’ stand not to attend, because of Pakistan’s involvement in cross-border terrorism in India. The 11th Kathmandu summit of Jan 2002, was also delayed because of the bloodless military coup in Pakistan in Oct. 1999 and the incidence of hijacking of India Airlines plane in Dec. 1999. When the 11th summit finally took place in the backdrop of Dec. 13, 2003, attack on ‘Indian Parliament, the eyes of world was focused on the meld dramatic handshake by Pakistan’ president General Musharraf with his counterpart Mr. Vajpayee, the Prime Minister of India.

With the globalization being spread throughout all the countries, it is but necessary for the SAARC nations to promote regional co-operation for their benefits. In 90’s Pakistan had dragged its fact over SAARC preferential trading agreement (SAPTA), the scheme of economic co-operation among SAARC member countries, whose frame work agreement was later finalized in 1993 and which formally came into operation in Dec. 95. SAPTA was envisaged primarily as the first step towards the transition to a South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), leading towards a customs union, common market and economic union.

Despite these grand visions, not much progress has so far been made under the SAPTA rounds of negotiation, mainly because of the limited exchange of trade concessions between India and Pakistan. Under the three rounds of SAPTA negotiation, about 3000 tariff lines have been offered for concession by member countries.

The concessions offered were almost 10 to 15 percent lower than the prevailing tariff rates. It is a matter of regret that even after this there has been no significant expansion in intra SAARC trade, which was merely to $ 3094 millions in 2001, 4.8% of the total exports of all the seven nations.

Changing scenario

With the improvement in relations between India and Pakistan, beginning with ceasefire along the LOC, and cricket team of India toured Pakistan, it is being expected now, that some positive direction in the matter of trade among the member nations may occur.

It has to be felt and accepted the member nations that so long as they remain reluctant to trade freely with all other members, SAARC will remain a dead, theoretical concept. India being the largest member nation should indicate greater flexibility and readiness in responding to the needs of smaller SAARC members.

It is worthwhile to note that other regional organizations as in ASEAN that have successfully expanded their mutual co-operation in spite of the political differences. The ECM (European Common Market) has taken long strides forward and has emerged today the European Union with common currency. While in SAARC, Pakistan has always raised the question of Kashmir prior to beginning of any economic progress. All the SAARC nations particularly the Pakistan has to realize that strategy or economic co-operation and development hold the key for all sorts of political settlements and for the peace and security of the region.

Despite, every member nation is suffering from the problems of illiteracy, poverty, disease, population explosion, corruption etc. they should be united to benefit mutually, keeping aside the political problems hitters made the main task. These nations are bound together geographically, culturally and historically SAARC countries can assist one another, by launching a joint strategy to solve their problem for which every member has to work with honestly and sincerely. It requires a staunch will of the political leaders, keeping in front the mono aim of welfare of the people of the region by accelerating economic co-operation, social progress and cultural development it the region. Nothing but peace, prosperity, all round progress in the region can form the area flourish with fast economic growth, rapid development of every nation. Let us hope that SAARC nations shall build a well focused economic, social and cultural agenda for 2020, keeping aside the political differences which have hitherto hampered the way of co-operation and prosperity of the region.


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