SAARC summit canceled


The summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which was planned to be held in Islamabad in November, has been canceled.

Complicated history

This is not the first time for such in the history of the summit. In 2011, its work was interrupted and resumed only after a three-year break, when most of the participating countries had changed their political leaderships. But even then, the next summit was not held in 2015. Instead, summits were held in 2014 and in 2016.

Despite this, this year's summit cancellation can be called an unprecedented phenomenon because it is associated with the refusal to participate by several countries - India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan (accepted into the association at the last summit) - who have called the reason for such a decision to be the high-level terrorist threat posed by Pakistan.

India’s charges

The SAARC Summit has always been a platform for putting the already tense relations between India and Pakistan out in the open for clarification. However, following a sharp deterioration due to a terrorist attack on the military base in Uri, whose attackers infiltrated India from Pakistan, New Delhi has called its neighbor a terrorist state. The Indian government has appealed to the international community to support such a harsh assessment.

Afterwards, during the preparations for the summit, India stated that "one country has created conditions that are not conducive to safety."

The Indian Foreign Ministry issued a statement explaining the country's position on this issue. "The increase in cross-border terrorism in the region and the growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one of the countries has created conditions that are not conducive to the success of the summit," - the statement reads.

Other member states’ reactions

Unprecedented is the fact that India claims to be supported by the majority of the participating countries. The Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal, which is chairman of the SAARC at the moment, have decided not to intervene in the conflict.

"Question of holding a summit can not stand if the four countries declare their unwillingness to participate. The current Chairman of SAARC Nepal is responsible for finding a solution of the pre-dispute, but in this case nothing can be done. We will make all the formalities and announce that the 2016 summit should be canceled due to the non-participation of member states,” a source in the government of Nepal said.

Who benefits

Russia has been improving relations with both countries - India as a member of BRICS, and Pakistan as recently inducted into the SCO. In addition, Afghanistan is awaiting a visit from the Russian military and political leadership.

If Russia manages to create a united Eurasian region out of disparate countries, this would heavily strike at the US’s positions not only in South Asia, but also in the Pacific and Middle East.

Hence why Washington is trying, by any means, to provoke conflicts among the member countries of various associations, including SAARC. Recently, a meeting of the representatives of India, Afghanistan and the United States affirmed their countries' cooperation in countering terrorism. In addition, it was decided to continue similar consultations on a regular basis, indicating that the US desires to gain a foothold in India by capitalizing on the country’s troubling issues.

In addition, the US Senate voted to adopt a resolution which concluded that Pakistan is a terrorist state. The document reports that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism. In addition, US military aid to Islamabad in the amount of $300 million has been blocked. This is probably being done to spite Russia for strengthening its military cooperation with Pakistan.


However, since SAARC is not recognized as a strong organization by its members, special shifts in world politics will not wait due to the cancellation of the summit. Most likely, the countries will continue pursuing bilateral cooperation as before.

On the other hand, the fact that Russia is holding military exercises with both India and Pakistan in such a difficult moment says that Moscow has more credibility in the region and that there is still a chance for peace with Russian mediation.