SAARC Summit concludes with limited success

World Today

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, right, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands during the 18th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Katmandu, Nepal, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. South Asian heads of state attending their first summit in three years reached a deal on energy sharing Thursday, but failed on two other economic agreements during a retreat where Indian and Pakistan leaders shook hands. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, Pool)

The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, between eight South Asian nations has concluded in Nepal’s capital with limited success and plenty of frustration. CCTV America’s Shweta Bajaj reported this story from Kathmandu.

SAARC Summit concludes with limited success

The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation, or SAARC between eight South Asian nations has concluded in Nepal’s capital with limited success and plenty of frustration. CCTV America’s Shweta Bajaj reported this story from Kathmandu on the outcome of the SAARC meeting.

Once again, the South Asian nations failed to agree on a crucial deal that would have helped boost trade in a region where poverty is still rampant. Negotiations had been mired by political distrust and unstable governments.

The energy deal was signed only after leaders managed to convince Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan blocked the other key big deals on railways and motor vehicles. But Pakistan said it was not solely to blame for the breakdown in talks.

“There were three agreements that were under discussion. Two of them were, I think they have not been finalized. But Pakistan is not the only country that has not completed its internal procedures. The reason was that there was an Expert Group Meeting, and the agreements, after that meeting, had not been put up to the ministers, concerned ministers. They were supposed to be submitted to the Transport Ministers, a requirement, a procedural requirement that has not been met,” said Tasnim Aslam, Spokesman, Pakistan’s foreign ministry.

The road and railway deals were seen as key to improving regional integration and trade between the eight countries.

“Better connectivity is the lifeline of any regional cooperation for enhancing trade, economy, linkages and promoting people to people contacts. They are the basic pre-requisite in creating an economy union that we aspire to establish within SAARC,” said Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal.

Leaders also signed a “Kathmandu Declaration,” agreeing to work together on a wide range of issues including infrastructure development, climate change, combating terrorism, and boosting regional integration.