SAARC Simultaneously Needs Reformation and Also a Forum

Mohammad Zainal Abedin: The martyred President of Bangladesh Ziaur Rahman dreamt the idea of forming a strong and viable forum comprising the South Asian countries to secure their sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, economic prosperity through promoting cooperation in all sectors.  All the countries, including India, welcomed President Zia’s proposal. But India virtually undertook a dilly-dally policy of delaying the formation of such a forum, which later emerged as SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) after the assassination of Zia.

Padmaja Murthy, an Indian researcher, acknowledging the reason for India’s procrastination Wrote: “SAARC was first envisioned in the late 1970s by Gen. Ziaur Rahman, President of Bangladesh. Initially, India was apprehensive about SAARC because it perceived the grouping to be an attempt by its smaller neighbors to unite against it.”

India waited till the assassination (orchestrated by Indian intelligence agency RAW) of President Zaiur Rahman.  India’s subsequent notoriety centering SAARC clearly exposed that it had hidden hegemonic visions to exploit, squeeze and reduce its neighboring countries as its stellates and ultimately occupy them.

SAARC was floated having two principles (virtually preconditions) in its charter that made it incapacitated and hostage to India. They are: 1. No bilateral dispute can be raised or discussed in the SAARC forum, and 2. No decision comes into effect if any member-country disagrees with it.

Such preconditions proved disastrous for SAARC, India maintains and creates bilateral problems with all of its neighboring countries. Whilst regional organizations are meant to remove such disputes and problems, SAARC failed to mitigate or resolve those.

Such preconditions SAARC started its journey not as an open forum, rather a restricted one. No Heads of the States or the Governments can express their views regarding problems or disputes that they face from the co-member country/countries.  Availing of

Under these conditions, India maintains bilateral problems with the member-countries, making SAARC ineffective.

SAARC leaders and officials sit side by side in meetings keeping burning misunderstanding, hatred, anguish and even enmity, in their mind and end those without having any desired output.

So, all the summits, conferences, or meetings of SAARC so far held, virtually turned into expensive get-togethers, picnics and fun.  India and its expansionist dream are entirely responsible for making SAARC as a dysfunctional forum.   Though SAARC Charter categorically mentioned its member-countries will not interfere in the internal affairs of others and shall respect their territorial integrity, India violated this very crucial and basic commitment of SAARC.

India since 1973 started providing all types of logistic support to the Chakma terrorists to cede Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and since 1980 Tamil Tigers to break the Northerly region of Sri Lanka. But India did not stop such subversive games despite the formation of SAARC in 1987.

 India even compelled its President Junius Richard Jayewardene to sign a treaty to deploy Indian troops in the Island country in the name of crushing its own made Tamil Tigers for whom India opened 31 training centers in it in Tamil Nadu and its adjoining states. India’s hidden design was to keep its forces for an unlimited period till the country turns to a satellite state. RAW agents killed President Prema Dasa of Sri Lanka on May 1, 1993 who asked Indian forces to leave Sri Lanka.

In the same year RAW sent its armed mercenaries to Maldives to topple the government President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

On June 1, 2001 RAW killed Birendra of Nepal and all of his own family members. None, who could inherit the king, was kept alive.

 RAW recruited and nursed it’s in Pakistan elements and infiltrated huge RAW operatives from India. In an interview with me a Nepali journalist and human rights activist Mukendo Subedi informed me that Nepal is beset with RAW agents and operatives. He said, you cannot say who is free from RAW influence and blessing.  He said, India finances and encourages the Nepalese living on the southern border with India.

India is not content with disintegrating Pakistan in 1971, which emboldened it to disintegrate into pieces and ultimately merge them with India.  India Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2015 openly asked the people of Balochistan and Sindh to go to India to get military training to liberate them from Pakistan. It clearly justifies that India exports terrorists and secessionists to Pakistan.

Indian RAW also regularly infiltrates its agents and operatives to Pakistan. Some of them were arrested inside Pakistan. Indian Navy officer Kulbhshan Sudhir Jadva, also spelled Kulbushan Yadav, who named himself in Pakistan as Hussain Mubarak Patel arrested in Balochistan; paid agent Khalil, Imtiaz, and Rashid (infiltrated from India-Occupied Kashmir and arrested in Azad Kashmir who had close contact with the Indian army officers Major Ranjeet, Major Sultan, and another unknown officer). All of these agents and operatives have been arrested since 2016.

India’s disruptive and hegemonic activities against all of its neighboring countries are antagonistic to the SAARC charter. India conspiratorially boycotted the Islamabad Summit scheduled to be held on November 15 to 19,  2015.  Six years passed by, India showed no interest in continuing the normal function of SAARC. India favors the annihilation of SAARC.

India paralyzed SARRC, availing the precondition of so-called consensus, in taking any decision.

Due to India’s ulterior policies and designs, SAARC is virtually ineffective. It must be reformed to make it effective and dynamic so that SAARC member-countries can mutually end their dispute and enmity forever to ensure regional peace and prosperity, which will save this region from nuclear war. None should forget that this is a region that already has three nuclearized countries (China, India and Pakistan). Some military analysts claim that neighboring Iran and even Myanmar also clandestinely are trying to be nuclearized.

To avert nuclear war, end the supremacy of any country, wipe out enmity and rivalry, and ensure peace and prosperity through friendship and amity there should have balance of power.

So, initiative should be taken to organize another simultaneous forum comprising SARRC member-countries with the inclusion of neighboring China, Iran and Myanmar. There should be a provision of raising all bilateral and regional issues in the official level meetings in the proposed forum, which, at least, can request the concerned countries to mitigate their problems. If any SAARC country denies joining such a greater and expanded regional forum, yet such a forum needs to be formed to   ensure peace and prosperity of the region.

Mohammad Zainal Abedin is a Bangladesh-origin journalist & researcher

August 6, 2021

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