Improve ties with other SAARC countries

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Pakistan’s inflexibility has frustrated India’s plans to have an agreement on strengthening road and rail communication among the member countries reached at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu in the year 2014. It was not the first time that the neighbouring country has played spoilsport at multilateral fora. At present, only 5 percent of their volume of trade is among the member countries. Better air, road and water links would have helped the countries to improve business relations.
Alas, these are no considerations for Pakistan whose only political strategy seems to be to minimise India’s importance. Since it cannot accomplish this task on its own, it needs a powerful ally like China. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well to shoot down Pakistan’s proposal to improve China’s present status of observer. This was done not because India is scared of China but because Pakistan had a sinister motive in mooting the proposal.
If, under the circumstances, Modi chose to ignore his Pakistani counterpart, the latter had only himself to blame. Modi could not have ignored the fact that it all began on the anniversary of Mumbai attack in which 166 innocent Indians were killed and many others seriously injured. He has reiterated India’s position that talks for the sake of talks could not be held and the dialogue, if held, has to be mutually beneficial. It is for Pakistan to show its sincerity
of purpose.
Over six decades of experience shows it is futile to expect much from Pakistan. It will continue to be as uncooperative as ever. Given this backdrop, India will have to think of better ways to achieve its regional and international objectives. By now, SAARC nations know only too well that the Modi government is keen to have good relations with all of them. India should, therefore, enter into bilateral agreements to strengthen their political, business and cultural ties. They all stand to benefit from economic objectives India has drawn up for itself and the region. If, in the process, Pakistan has to be ignored, so be it.

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