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  India   All India  27 Oct 2017  Foreign secy says Saarc is ‘jammed’, in swipe at Pak

Foreign secy says Saarc is ‘jammed’, in swipe at Pak

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Oct 27, 2017, 1:46 am IST
Updated : Oct 27, 2017, 1:56 am IST

Jaishankar also said that many of the concerns articulated by India in the summer have become international concerns.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar (Photo: PTI)
 Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Foreign Secretary, Mr S. Jaishankar on Thursday said the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a "jammed" vehicle as "one country" is not connected to the other seven members of the South Asian regional bloc on the key issue of terrorism, an obvious reference to Pakistan without directly naming it. He also said that unlike SAARC, the other seven-nation regional grouping, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) that has some of the south Asian and south-east Asian countries has members that are "broadly aligned" and "articulate similar aspirations."

His comments come at a time when there has been speculation for the past one year that India is trying to make the BIMSTEC more relevant as an alternative to SAARC.

 

“Neighbours need to be connected, but if you look at the vehicle on which all had expectations (it) was SAARC. But the SAARC vehicle has sort of jammed because of two big issues - terrorism and connectivity... Where all countries are not on the same page, but specifically one country is not on the same page with others,” Mr Jaishankar was quoted as saying by PTI.

The 19th SAARC Summit, which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad last year, was indefinitely postponed after India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan, among others, pulled out of the event. India had cited cross-border terrorism as the reason for pulling out of the summit after the Pathankot and Uri terror attacks.

 

Responding to a question on Indo-Japan cooperation and joint connectivity initiatives, which were seen by many as an attempt to counter China, the secretary said describing it as a competition would not be “justice.” In a veiled reference to 'One-Belt-One-Road' (OBOR), a Chinese mega infrastructure initiative, he said earlier in the year, India laid out its viewpoint, opposing the initiative.

“We have the Silk Road. We probably have more ownership on the Silk Road than anybody else, even if... We lost the branding on the route. But the point is that we have a certain view of how connectivity projects should come about. So what we laid out earlier in the year was our viewpoint and at that point there were concerns saying we are getting isolated,” he was quoted as saying.

 

Mr Jaishankar also said that many of the concerns articulated by India in the summer have become international concerns.

Tags: saarc, s. jaishankar, obor