How SAARC is reviving
Life Within SAARC
Published Year: 2005
Published by: Institute
of Foreign Affairs(IFA) & Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Editors: Dev Raj Dahal
& Nischal N. Pandey
Price: Not mentioned
WHEN South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation was visualized and
the first summit was held in 1985, it was the first time
the countries of South Asia had looked inwards for regional
cooperation. It was a significant step forward towards
bringing the countries that have been marred by differences
and disparities politically, economically and socially.
This was the region, which had common
roots politically, economically and socially, but political
misgivings, especially between India and Pakistan and
also between other countries of the region, had created
deep distrust among the countries. This distrust had created
conflict and suspicions making regional cooperation so
far away. Moreover, small irritants, political as well
as economic, between the countries had created a setback
to regional cooperation.
Even after the formation of a platform
for regional cooperation, the regional body remained almost
inept and functionless for almost 15 years and SAARC had
failed to take off from routine ceremonies and speeches.
It is only recently that SAARC has gained some concrete
ground in terms of cooperation in the real sense. One
of the failures of the regional grouping was its failure
in identifying the areas where the countries of the region
could cooperate. The issue of cooperation was overshadowed
by conflict and commonalities with differences and there
was politics of exclusion.
Finally, after 20 long years SAARC has
been able to separate politics from economic cooperation
and has found identified and agreed on areas where it
could cooperate - in fighting terrorism and on trade.
The last two summits - in Islamabad and Dhaka - has been
able to give some impetus with the adoption of Social
Charter, SAFTA and Declaration against Terrorism. The
New Life Within SAARC, compilation of articles of prominent
personalities involved in different aspects regionally
or within their respective countries gives insights on
the new developments in the region and the vision as envisioned
for the regional body in the future. The views presented
in the articles clearly show that there has been a new
realization that 'United We Stand'.
The authors that include foreign policy
experts, research scholars, army top brasses, defense
strategists, political scientists and those who were at
the helm of foreign policy of their countries. For this
matter, the book published by Institute of Foreign Affairs
and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung ( Nepal) gives insights about
the evolution and progression of SAARC as more of a talking
shop to a business like body.
The editors Nishchal Nath Pandey, Executive
Director of IFA, and Dev Raj Dahal, Head of the FES Nepal
office and Associate Professor of Political Science at
TU have a deep understanding of the problems and prospects
of the region.
All the 16 articles in the book relate
to the newfound areas in furthering SAARC such as new
visions, SAFTA and its progress, dealing with problem
of terrorism in the reason. The best thing about the book
is that it gives views and opinions not on drags but on
taking SAARC forward in the future.
This book is
also a document on the conduits of foreign policies coupled
with economic policies of the countries of the region.
Each of them is deeply analyzed and scrutinized that can
give guidelines on the SAARC process and in meeting the
(Reviewed by Swodesh Khatri)
Review (26 January-1 February 2006)