The 17th SAARC Summit concluded on Friday with the Addu Declaration, named after the island where the Maldives hosted the heads of government meeting which concluded with an agreement to enhance intra-regional trade and facilitate communications. Though the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was originally conceived as a trade organisation, which would reduce trade barriers to the point where the region would form a Common Market, its inability to deal with the political issues dividing the South Asian neighbours has greatly reduced its ability to be of effect. The Addu Declaration may be helpful in resolving this, by emphasising the implementation of the South Asian Free Trade Accord (SAFTA), reduction in sensitive lists, and reduction of non-tariff barriers. Apart from political issues, India is accused of being a bad neighbour to all SAARC members. This too emerges as the main obstacle to the regions economic cooperation. This is because one of the problems with the SAARC architecture is that it is, quite literally, centred upon India, to the extent that all the original six other members not only have a border with India, but have none with each other. This changed with the admission of Afghanistan to SAARC as its eighth member. Quite apart from the fact that this actually meant giving the USA, the country occupying Afghanistan, a place in SAARC, it also meant the only SAARC member without a border with India. However, this membership also meant that the role of India in Afghanistan was further strengthened, even though it had no real role in Afghanistan, and would not, had it not been for the fact that the USA had chosen the pro-Indian Northern Alliance as the puppet government there, and had chosen India to act as its regional counterweight against China. While the summit, an annual rotating affair between member states, was instituted not just to bring about a common market in the region on the pattern of the European Union or ASEAN, it was also meant to provide an opportunity to members to take up bilateral issues on the sidelines. An example was Pakistani Prime and Foreign Ministers meeting their Indian counterparts at Addu. It remains true that while regional cooperation not only promises great benefits to the many people living in the region, the Addu Declaration would not mean much unless India, not just the physical, but also the geographical and demographic centre of the contemplated South Asian entity, was to repair its relations with the other members, particularly with Pakistan, and particularly over the Kashmir issue.