The chief of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry has pledge to take result-oriented steps for greater economic integration between the member states. The official, who is the Indian national, explained that all indigenous natural resources need to be exploited for development, prosperity and welfare of the people and do away with poverty in the South Asia region. Addressing the chamber executive committee meeting, he said that there is a need to achieve peace, freedom, social justice and economic prosperity for the people by developing mutual understanding, good neighbourly relations among the countries. It is the routine of Indian officials to speak about shared goals, mutual respect and peace when they are in Pakistan, but soon they step out of the plane at New Delhi; they change their tone and style all of a sudden. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was set up to create strong business and trade relations among the member countries and move the region toward a prosperous and integrated future. However, India used this forum for its vested interests since inception. Instead of allowing the forum to play a proactive role in promotion of economic relations, India has bulldozed all the positive efforts in this regard. Not only SAARC, but its subsidiaries such as the chamber of commerce and industry have failed to play any important role in developing an institutional framework for promoting economic and regional cooperation in the region. Last year, India destroyed all efforts to cancel a scheduled meeting of the SAARC heads of states. Unfortunately, Nepal and Sri Lanka, which were very close to Pakistan, had also refused to attend the meeting in Islamabad. The current Bangladeshi leadership, which is anti-Pakistan by default, was on the forefront to toe the line of New Delhi and was the first to reject the invitation for the meeting.
SAARC is an important forum as it represents the region which is three percent of the world’s area, 21 percent of the world’s population. If China is made its member, it will be the largest single forum in the world with $20 trillion world economy. However, India does not want to leave the forum, but to cripple its functionality for political reasons. If India is out, China will in and it will be a great setback for India to carry out its evil designs. The government should now take the leadership of Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka into confidence and kick India out of the forum and give a leading role to China.