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Moving South Asia's Economies Beyond The Indo-Pakistan Paradigm In The South Asian Regional Association For Cooperation

Title:Moving South Asia's Economies Beyond The Indo-Pakistan Paradigm In The South Asian Regional Association For Cooperation
Author:S.G. Pandian
Publication:Contemporary South Asia / Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
Enumeration:Vol. 11, No. 3 pp. 329 - 344 , Nov. 2002
Abstract:The effectiveness of the South Asian Regional Association for Cooperation (SAARC) hinges upon its dominant Indo-Pakistan axis. A stronger Indo-Pakistan relationship would realise multiple benefits for all the countries of the region, including reduced defence expenditure, enhanced economic growth from increased trade and the sharing of South Asia's water, oil and natural gas resources, and would increase the scope for further integration. However, this article argues that the failure of India and Pakistan to normalise their political and trade relationship hinders the growth of SAARC, including the possibility of its future as a viable trading bloc. Nonetheless, argues this article, the relative inaction of the Indo-Pakistan axis in SAARC must not prevent other countries in the region from entering into bilateral, sub-regional and extra-regional agreements to reap the benefits of enhanced co-operation. Although such arrangements would undermine the efficacy of SAARC, it would be a move forward from the existing SAARC framework, which Indo-Pakistan intransigence has made virtually obsolete.

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