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Farewell to South Asia

Mains- GS-2-International Relations

What is SAARC and its importance to the South Asian region?

a) South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional inter-governmental cooperation and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia.

b) It comprises eight Member States: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

c) SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 4% of the world’s GDP.

d) The organization works for the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life.

e) It works to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region.

Why is SAARC losing its relevance?

a) Member countries are exploring other identities.

(i) Nepal, Pakistan are embracing China because of various factors.

(ii) Sri Lanka and the Maldives are recognizing themselves as ‘Indian Ocean Countries’.

b) The rise of different sub-regional groups.

India is focussing on the subgroups like BBIN, BIMSTEC.

c) Leading voices of the SAARC like Bangladesh, India, and Afghanistan are not satisfied with Pakistan.

d) Changing global political nexuses

USA, China, Japan, and few western countries are actively focussing on this region to secure their interests.

Why does India need to reimagine its economic and political geography in this region?

a) The concept of ‘Political South Asia’ has not survived the test of time and losing its relevance.

b) India’s footprint goes way beyond the Subcontinent and its attention on South Asian politics is weakening.

c) Global powers are playing an active role in different neighboring countries which could hurt India’s interests in the long term.

d) China is challenging India’s position as a big brother in the region.

Source- Indian Express