Author(s): Anupam Agarwal and Deepak Jain
Purpose: SAARC has been in existence for 30 years, but its influence in compared to other regional cooperation’s such as the European Union, ASEAN, and the African Union is lacking. This paper aims to highlight the impasse and opportunities for the strategic resurgence of SAARC to make it vibrant and effective. Approach: An interpretative approach is used to ascertain the areas of non-cooperation from the analysis of semi-structured articles / thesis / reports of various writers and educators on the subject. The data pertaining to areas of non-cooperation or roadblocks amongst the member nations of SAARC was gathered, analysed and major aspects, which require to be addressed were collected. Findings: The analysis support that non-cooperation primarily the age-old areas of dissension / conflicts amongst the member nations especially the two South Asian giants, India and Pakistan have been the primary roadblock in the performance of SAARC and its consequent resurgence. The pitfalls identified are Lack of Political Will, Recent Developments in Afghanistan, Frosty India-Pakistan Relations, Kashmir Dispute, Terrorism, and perceived Indian Hegemonic Design in South Asia. Hence, there is no time to lose and India needs to act fast and firm as other countries may be willing to go with ‘Business as Usual’, which must look into Rebuilding Bridges between India and Pakistan, utilise Soft Power accord priority to Virtual Meetings and undertake Economic Revival, simultaneously keeping other options open like BIMSTEC, QUAD, ASEAN etc. Research Implications: The findings indicate the need for action on part of SAARC members to proactively undertake the activities mandated under SAARC Charter through various alternative evolving and innovative means, to ensure the relevance and importance of SAARC.